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Five things we love about the PS4!

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With over 1 million pre-orders and more to come, the upcoming PS4 launch for 29 November 29 caused worldwide excitement.

There is a clamour for eager PlayStation fans to pre-order and get the new console in time for Christmas. With partners such as GAME guaranteeing deliver before Christmas with only a £20 deposit, there is still a chance to grab your hands on the elusive console in time.

 

The more details that are released from the Sony team, the bigger the anticipation we feel. With this in mind we have the top five things that we love about the PS4:

 

5. Dualshock 4

 

Trying to design a controller that is better than the Xbox's default offering has been one of the harder tasks for Sony developers but they may have succeeded with the new Dualshock 4 ps4 controller.

 

Playstation controller.png

Introducing the Track Pad, there is now more flexibility for players to make the most out of each game. Plus, with a sleeker design and an incredibly light feel, hours and hours of gaming time awaits you with no negative effects on your hands. 


4. Playstation app

 

Sony have caught up with rivals Xbox and announced that there will be an app for iOS and Android to offer second screen gaming. The free app will allow users to compare achievements and view the successes of friends.

 

The most striking element is the ability to offer second screen gaming like with the Wii U on certain games.

 

As of yet, there has not been an announcement on the release date on the app.

 

3. Online upgrades

 

With technology outdated almost as soon as it is released, it is refreshing to see Sony focus on the future and longevity of the PS4. Online upgrades will be consistently released and provide the console regular booster injections to keep themselves ahead of the game.

 

Plus, there has already been acknowledgement from the powers that be that early fan feedback on the PS4 has been taken in. Expect Sony and the fans to work together to have the ultimate games console that is personally defined for each user.

 

2. A feast of games

 

A healthy mix of third party and exclusive titles fill up the list of on the PS4 and with more expected to be announced, the console is definitely kicking things off with a bang.


1. All round improvement

 

So much has been promised to fans with enhanced graphics and social features that all round improvement has to be our favourite PS4 feature.

 

Add into that the fact that the PlayStation Vita will play an important role as Remote Play if enabled on the PS4, and the gaming experience has reached a whole new level.

 

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Sony 4K.jpg

Forget High Definition! If you want to see an even clearer image - four times clearer than current HD in fact - what you really need is one of Sony's latest 4K TVs.

Boasting over 8 million pixels (3840 x 2160 resolution), images are refined with sharp details and colours to provide a picture that goes well beyond full HD. But don't just take Sony's word for it. Apparently, so the story goes, film maker Garth Davis was so blown away by the picture quality that he stopped mid-sentence while talking to someone at the Sundance Festival just to have a look at it. 

That resulted in Davis, who is best known for his Grammy nominated TV mini series Top of the Lake with Piano director Jane Campion, working on the TV ad himself.

"First time I saw a Sony 4K TV it was like opening my eyes," enthuses Davis. "It's four times the detail of HD - colour becomes richer, details become richer. For a film maker that changes everything because now there are no more barriers between the world I see and one I can show you."

Nor is it just the picture quality that is getting people excited. Built in wi-fi means you can even attach your NFC one-touch enabled smart phone to the 4K TV so you can view precious images on the big screen instead of on a small handheld device. Take a look at the video below and see just how mind-blowing this picture quality is.



Image source: Sony website


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Many small and medium sized businesses find themselves in a tricky situation today. They need to expand their IT and communications offerings, but don't have the technical staff or the expertise to achieve this.

It can also be very expensive acquiring IT and communications solutions, which is not good news especially at times when budgets are tight.

One company that is offering an innovative new solution is UK communications provider Talk Talk Business. It is working with businesses by offering them a suite of Business Grade Hosted Solutions (sometimes known as cloud computing) that gives them the features and functionality their business needs, without them having to purchase equipment and technology. The offerings are scaleable too, so as a business grows, or even contracts, so can the depth of the solutions.

Among the offerings are a Hosted Data Centre, Call Centre and Call Recording - all designed to make life for SME business owners significantly easier while enabling them to keep better control over IT and comms costs.

Take the Data Centre - it is a scalable solution that can easily expand in-line with a business' hosting needs. Talk Talk Business believes that it dramatically reduce connectivity expenses while at the same time ensure that the business owner is secure in the knowledge that they are using an innovative data centre infrastructure that uses the latest technology and is protected by the highest security standards.

Talk Talk Business is also offering a Hosted Contact Centre which is controlled by Talk Talk. So there's no additional equipment that the business has to invest in. It is a solution that enables business owners to make informed decisions, route calls efficiently and manage different sites and remote workers - wherever they are.

As part of its Business Grade Hosted Solutions Talk Talk also offers Hosted Call Recording, and Hosted Unified Communications too.

So if you are looking for an innovative, inexpensive and highly effective comms and IT offering then contact Talk Talk.

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Feeling lucky? Here's an app that not only gives you access to some cracking casino games but also starts you off with £5 to spend.

Yep, download LadyLucks Mobile Casino to your iPhone or iPad and you'll instantly be given a £5 bonus. And who knows, that £5 might turn into something a lot bigger. For starters all new players qualify for a 1st, 2nd AND 3rd deposit matches up to a total of £225!

And there's more. LadyLucks pays out over £10 million each month to winners.

There's a fabulous choice of games to choose from all of which are unique to the LadyLucks app. So whether you want to play Roulette, Blackjack, Bingo or have a go on one of the fantastic slots games such as the exciting slot War Zone or double jackpot game Loopy Lotto, you are spoilt for choice at LadyLucks.

LadyLucks also believes in looking after its players. So if you download the app and join the thousands of players already loving the games you may end up being rewarded with generous bonuses and brilliant promotions.

Also if you refer a friend LadyLucks will give you a further £20 in bonus money.

Take a look too at the exciting LadyLucks Facebook community where you'll find details of even more bonuses along with sneak previews of new games.

So if you are feeling lucky then download the app and get started. You need to be at least 18 years of age with a UK mobile device running at least iOS4 with location services enabled. to register.

Good luck!

LadyLucks is available for free from iTunes.

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According to Ofcom's 2012 report, Virgin Media has the fastest average broadband download speeds widely available to customers. This is due to the extensive network of fibre optic cables which is the fastest and most reliable way to get a broadband connection into your home.

Making sure you choose the right broadband for your own needs can be complicated, as some advertising makes services deliberately confusing and hard to compare with other services.

At Virgin Media the choice of services is laid out in a simple manner that is easy to understand, with flexible packages that let you pick and choose the different things you need, so you only pay for what you want. For full details visit their website.

Bandwidth speed

The faster your broadband speed the more you'll be able to do online, whether that means making the most of streaming media or connecting to as many people as you like at the same time.

30Mb broadband comes as standard, but if you work from home or like to take part in online gaming, stream movies or go shopping, then speeds of up to 100Mb will make sure you have all the capacity you need.

A higher connection speed can obviously send more data back and forth at the same time - it's a bit like the way more water can flow down a larger pipe than a thinner one. By understanding the right speeds for your personal set-up you can make the best choice and ensure you only pay for what you need.

Award Winning

At the 2013 uSwitch Broadband Awards, Virgin Media won four awards, including Best Broadband Provider, Fastest Home Broadband, Best WiFi Service and Best Broadband Innovation, which means Virgin Broadband is rated the UK's No 1 service provider.

Extras

In any of the packages you choose there are plenty of added extras to make sure that everything goes smoothly. As a Virgin Broadband customer you get free servicing and repairs on everything to do with your broadband and the exclusive Super Hub that is provided to run your home network

There's also the comfort of knowing there is 24 hour expert IT support only a phone call away.

Fastest wireless set-up

The Virgin Media Super Hub is provided in all packages and is designed to be the centre of your secure superfast wireless home network. It is easy to set up and maintain and seamlessly and securely connects all your devices to your wifi network and to the internet beyond.

Unlimited downloads

Virgin Media offers unlimited downloads which means that you can download and browse as much as you like in the knowledge that you won't incur hidden fees and charges.

Fibre Optic

Although Virgin Media's reputation has been built on their innovative use of fibre optic cabling to enable the very fastest broadband speeds, if your area isn't yet cabled this is not a problem as you can access fast broadband via your phone line instead. You don't need a BT line and you can choose from an extensive range of packages.

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The Pros And Cons Of BlackBerry 10

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BlackBerry has finally unleashed its Blackberry 10 operating system (OS), with the platform making its debut on the recently launched BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. After facing some tough times in 2012, BlackBerry has completely redesigned its OS to start 2013 afresh with a brand new approach.

The software is a lot different to previous BlackBerry operating systems and promises big things, but could this radical departure re-establish the company at the top of the mobile manufacturer game? We spent some time with the BlackBerry 10-toting BlackBerry Z10 to weigh up the pros and cons of BlackBerry's new operating system venture.

Pros

BlackBerry Z10 hardware:


The BlackBerry Z10 features a 4.2-inch full touchscreen display and is currently the only device released that sports the BlackBerry 10 software. The smartphone is highly superior to any previous BlackBerry handsets and looks sleek, sophisticated, and a little bit like the iPhone 5. The only criticism that could be mustered is that the plastic back casing feels a little cheap when it's removed, however, when it is secured in place it doesn't detract from the look or feel of the mobile.

Keyboard

The touchscreen BlackBerry Keyboard on BlackBerry 10 helps you to type faster and more accurately because it learns which letters you regularly mistype and then adjusts itself to make sure you hit the right key. Cool huh? The predictive text function is intuitive too, and suggested words will appear above the first letter of the word you are typing. These can then be easily 'flicked' into whatever you are typing on screen using an upward swipe gesture.

Message notifications

There's a feature called the BlackBerry Hub on BB10 that collects all message notifications in one place. Sounds good yes? Well get this - it can be accessed whilst you're using any feature of the phone without leaving that app. An upward and to the right swipe gesture pulls the hub screen out and allows you to 'peek' in to see if you have any new messages. BlackBerry has dubbed this BlackBerry Peek, and it lets you keep on top of all your messages whilst multitasking.

Camera features

The Time Shift camera feature on the BlackBerry Z10 is really cool and helps you capture perfect pictures every time. Time Shift allows users to isolate sections of photos they have taken, and rewind and fast forward to milliseconds before and after the shutter button is pressed. This is handy if anyone in the photo has blinked because you can simply isolate their face and rewind until their eyes are open.

BBM video call with Screen Share

The BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) messaging service has been upgraded so that you can now make video calls, and there is also a new feature called Screen Share on board. Screen Share allows you to share whatever is on your screen with the person you are video calling, whilst continuing the conversation. It could be an image, webpage, or anything else that you are looking at whilst chatting.

Cons

Flagship pricing At the moment BlackBerry 10 is only available on the BlackBerry Z10, which is a high-end flagship smartphone and carries an equally high price tag. A QWERTY BlackBerry has been announced too in the form of the BlackBerry Q10 but as this has not been released yet, so your only option is the BlackBerry Z10 if you want a slice of BlackBerry 10 action.

Gesture functionality

The BlackBerry Z10 uses gesture-based navigation that can be a little awkward if you're not familiar with it. It does take a bit of time to get to grips with if you're more used to Android or iOS devices, and if you're a lover of older QWERTY-fied BlackBerrys you may find it even more of a challenge.

No upgrades to BB10

Earlier BlackBerry devices can't be upgraded to BlackBerry 10, so if you were hoping to update your BlackBerry Bold 9900 to BB10 you're in for disappointment. Those who wish to use the new BlackBerry software will have to invest in new hardware. Sad face.

Camera competition

The BlackBerry Z10's 8 megapixel camera doesn't produce photos that are as good as those created by the likes of the Sony Xperia Z's 13 megapixel camera, or the HTC One's UltraPixel camera. Although Time Shift helps to get the correct expressions from all the people in photos, the images produced aren't as detailed and the camera doesn't perform as well in low-light conditions. When you compare it to the camera functionality on previous BlackBerry devices it's light years ahead, but there are other recently released mobiles with extremely advanced snappers that trump the BlackBerry Z10.

Lack of apps

BlackBerry pulled out all the stops before the release of BlackBerry 10, offering incentives to developers to create apps for the new BlackBerry World app store. Despite its efforts BlackBerry can't quite compete with the number and quality of apps provided by the likes of Apple's App Store and Google Play at present. However, we should point out that BlackBerry World did have the most apps of any new app store upon its launch, and the number is growing all the time.

Despite its slight faults, the BlackBerry Z10 is undoubtedly the best BlackBerry smartphone ever produced, and if anything is going to save the Canadian manufacturer, this handset could. To learn about the BlackBerry 10 operating system and the BlackBerry Z10, check out our hands-on video below:

This guest blog was written by of Phones 4u, who offer great mobile phone deals including the Blackberry Z10 in white.

 


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Samsung_Galaxy_S3IMG_0044.jpgSo you've got yourself a Samsung Galaxy S3 - perhaps you've even taken the plunge and left Apple at the same time? As always with a shiny new phone, it is fun to get started downloading apps right away. You might already have some favourites, but what else is available on Google Play?

Here is our guide to ten great apps to download to your Samsung Galaxy S3.

1 Swiftkey 3 (£2.99)

There are plenty of free apps for you to explore with your new Galaxy S 3 phone, but if you can afford another £3 then this little app will transform the way you use your handset. It is an amazing keyboard that learns from the way in which you type to ensure that even if you are delivering jibberish it will magically turn into the words you want. You can try it free for a month, but after that cough up the cash. It will save you so much time.

Get it here. 

2 Live Score Addicts [Free]

Obsessed with football? Then this is for you. This clever app keeps you up to speed with what is happening in games across the globe letting you know about all the key incidents - goals, penalties, results etc. One of the best bits are that its push notifications are lightning quick. Highly recommended.

Get it here.

3 Samsung Remote [Free]

If you have a Samsung TV this free remote app means that you can use your Galaxy S3 to control your Smart TV using Bluetooth. A must have for Samsung fans.

Get it here.

TV Catch Up.jpg4 TV Catch Up

This brilliant little app offers hundreds of live TV stations - including all the UK ones that really matter - live streamed to your mobile. Perhaps not the best app if you just have 3G coverage but very handy when you have access to Wi-Fi.

Get it here.

5 Pulse [Free]

Pulse is a really smart way of keeping up with your websites and blogs. It grabs an image and the headline of each story and presents it to you in a very striking grid format. Highly recommended if you want to keep up to date with lots of blogs and websites

Get it here.

6 Zinio [Free]

One of the best things about the Samsung Galaxy S3 is its very large screen. It is so big you can read magazines on it. No really. And if you fancy flicking through your favourite publications Zinio should be your first stop. It is a kind of mini corner store stuffed with all kinds of publications. Many popular mags are available here.

Get it here.

7 S Health [Free]

It's a brand new year, which means most of us are trying to live healthier lives. Apps are great for keeping track on your health and wellness, and this Galaxy S3 specific app is compatible with a number of different devices so that you can monitor your weight, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Download from the Samsung "More Services" app on the Galaxy S3.

8 Bomb Sight [Free]

If you're a history buff (or just mildly interested in eras past), this app is great fun! Mapping the London World War II bomb census for the period of the Blitz, between 7th October 1940 and 6th June 1941, the Bomb Sight app allows you to explore where the bombs fell as you walk around the streets of London. When in London, use GPS to find your location and discover where the bombs fell using Augmented Reality.

Get it here.

9 Flashlight [Free]

Ok, so it might not sound that sexy but Flashlight is a must for any Galaxy S 3 owner. Basically it turns your mobi into a really bright, and we mean really bright, torch. You never know when you might need it. It has been a life saver for me on many occasions.

Get it here.

10 Spotify [Free + £9.99/month]

This Android app has recently had a complete overhaul with a much improved redesign, ICS support and high-res photos of your favourite acts. Best enjoyed with a Spotify Premium account which lets you listen to all of your favourite playlists when offline or stream anything from the extensive library when online.

Get it here.

If you haven't bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 yet try Carphone Warehouse for some great deals.

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New gadgets for 2013 launched at CES

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held in Las Vegas every January and its purpose is to show us the latest high technology gadgets that we will be using in the near future. The CES is eagerly anticipated by both the public and commercial organisations, and the 2013 event has proven to be as exciting as ever, with some amazing technology on display. Here is just a small sample of some of it.

It is impossible not to be impressed by Samsung's latest television offering. Firstly it is seriously big; the screen is 110 inches, as big as some small cinema screens, and secondly the definition is amazing; it is ultra-high definition, which means that it has four times the resolution of today's HD TVs.  Currently this is only a prototype, though it is expected to be commercially available late in 2013. In the meantime an 85 inch model that uses similar technology is available today.

Virtual reality headsets are another feature of the show. Although Google was not present to show their Google Glass technology, a prototype Oculus Rift VR headset was, and with a reasonable price tag.

Mobile phone technology has advanced considerably over the year, and the latest generation of phones tend to favour ever bigger, brighter and higher resolution displays. Quad core processers, five inch displays, and 4G connectivity are now the bread and butter of 2013 generation smartphones. However some phone manufacturers have moved even further forward with their phone technologies, and the highlights include a bendy phone and a waterproof one. 

The bendy phone is currently only a prototype so it won't be available to purchase for some time. It has been demonstrated by Samsung and includes a display that can be folded up, almost as if it was made of paper. The display is made from very thin plastic rather than glass and when it is bent and flexed there is very little image or colour distortion. Flexible batteries are also possible as are flexible electronics, but they are still a little further away.

The waterproof phone, the Xperia Z, has been launched by Sony and it is commercially available. It can survive being submerged in a few feet of water for up to half an hour which means that you can take it with you into the shower. As well as being waterproof, this Android handset has many other exciting features including a stunning display and a 13 megapixel camera. With 4G connectivity, networks such as Virgin Mobile will soon be adding it to their range of pay monthly phones as well as pay as you go phones.

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i'm Watch - review

imwatch3.jpg.pngIt isn't just phones that are getting smarter. The humble wrist watch is becoming pretty brainy too. Now available from Italian company I'm Watch, and unveiled at the recent CES Show in Las Vegas, this second generation device promises even greater functionality than the previous model.

Not only can you use it as a Dick Tracy style wristwatch phone - sure to impress your friends and turn a few heads - you can also use this device to control all of the apps you have on your smart phone and more. So for the first time you can check your email, view your pictures, even keep up to date with social media just by looking at the high-resolution colour screen.

Size-wise, the i'm Watch is a little larger than a conventional boring watch, but then it can do a whole lot more. Simply plug the device into your PC using the supplied 3.5mm jack to USB cable, register the device on the website and check out the app store. The latest i'm Watch product uses the i'm Droid 2 operating system, a customised version of Android developed by i'm Watch engineers.

Here you can access various bespoke I'm Watch apps including a version of Instagram and another called i'Mages which enables you to view any photo albums you have stored via Google's Picasa. Once you've supplied your user name and passwords, it's also possible to view your Facebook and Twitter messages on your watch so you are never out of touch with what's going on in your social networks. It's even possible to access your emails on the go.

But that's not all. Scroll down the watch's touch screen display and you can click on a whole host of additional apps including one for checking the weather in your home town, one for providing the latest stocks and shares info and another for displaying the latest news. By pluggging headphones into the watch's 3.5mm jack you can also listen to music, downloadable via the i'music app.

i'm watch close up.JPGAlthough the watch doesn't have a built in mobile data SIM it uses Bluetooth to communicate with the outside world via your smart phone (Apple iOS, Blackberry, Android). I managed to tether the watch to my iPhone straight away and within minutes was making calls on my watch. And while the number pad is obviously quite small I found it relatively straightforward to make calls by dialling the numbers into the watch (see image on right). Alternatively by synching the contacts from phone you can make calls even more easily.

For the techno geek, the i'm Watch is pretty much the ideal gadget. It combines all the usual functionality of a hi-tech watch (date, time, calculator) with a whole load of other apps which you normally only find on a smart phone (email access, social media functions). Thanks to Bluetooth you can also connect external sensors and control their functions from your i'm Watch including pedometers, even heart-rate monitors if you so wish.




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Victoria Mole writes
If you're not prepared, present shopping (especially of the Christmas kind) can easily take you back to schoolwork deadline syndrome: you're not exactly sure that you're doing it right or whether it's enough; and even though you always vow never to do the job last-minute again, it becomes a torturous cycle.

Choosing a gift for your significant other can feel particularly stressful, especially if you've ever been given the look of disdain at times when you've exhibited how much of a stud with comic genius you are (how she could not be impressed with a handlebars Movember, who knows?). However, women really aren't that hard to please- in fact, they're the easiest people to buy for because all of the clichés apply. CFJ (chocolates, flowers and jewellery) are your go-to's for a reason, and the easiest way to satisfy the latter on all applicable occasions is with a charm bracelet.

A personalised charm bracelet from a high-quality and well-loved jeweller like Pandora is guaranteed to make your lady feel special. It's thoughtful and easy: but most importantly you will have a guaranteed present idea for every gift-giving occasion, you can just choose another charm from Pandora's collection. There's a charm for everything, so it whatever the occasion you can buy a charm and immediately win brownie points for being sentimental! With this in mind, we've had a look at all the best Pandora charms from Pandora Stockists John Greed Jewellery.

Pandora Silver Bracelet
Price: starting at £45 without any charms. There are also the 'My First Bracelet's and specially themed 'Complete Bracelet's, which come with at least a couple of charms- these start at £99.

Occasion: any

This is the essential starter gift and it is advisable to present at least one charm with the bracelet to start her collection off. The silver bracelets are so stylishly designed that they will still look beautiful with minimal charms.pandiora silver bracelet.jpg

Silver & Red Enamel Love Letter Charm

Price: £35

Occasion: Valentine's Day, Anniversary

This cute charm featuring the encryption 'To My Love' on its side adds a splash of colour and sentimental value. When presenting this one, you can be creative: write your own love letter and place the charm inside. If sensitivity is not your strong suit, then this gesture will be all the more appreciated. Otherwise, if you are the sentimental type and your romantic style is on the cuter side of cringe-worthy, take it a step further and opt for one of the many heart-shaped charms- giving her your heart has never been so sparkly. Silver love charm.jpg

Pandora Christmas Stocking Charm
Price: £25

Occasion: Christmas!

This is a lovely item and one that you can say has sentimental value as it's too remember and celebrate perhaps your first Christmas together. Most women like to have some Christmas jewellery and fashion items in their arsenal come Christmas time, so this is a perfect seasonal gift. At just £25 this Pandora charm is definitely a winner. Pandora chritsmas stoicking charm.jpg

Silver Stiletto Dangle Charm

Price: £35

Occasion: Birthday

Chances are your lady has a 'thing' that she can't resist collecting, and chances are, it's shoes (or handbags, there are charms of those too). The best advice when choosing a charm is to choose one that has personal significance- whether it contain her birthstone, be her favourite animal or even one that represents a hobby.Silver stiletto dangle charm.jpg

Silver Eiffel Tower Charm
Price: £40
Occasion: Holiday presents

Pandora charms are designed specifically to represent memories and experiences. There are charms of landmarks and animals that are associated with certain countries, which are perfect for bracelet owners who have been travelling. Think of particularly special days you've spent together, perhaps the first date- you will likely find a charm that represents the activity or reminds you both of the occasion.

Choosing gifts is not as much of a chore as it seems, although in this case, it may be the variety of charms to choose from that makes this particular gift more difficult to buy. Silver may not be magnetic, but any man who's walked past a jeweller's window with a woman who loves sparkly stuff will have undeniably noticed the attraction: a gift that gets that kind of reaction is more than worth it.Silver eiffel tower.jpg

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ip4-v25-splash-appxpert-02.jpgSponsored post

If you fancy yourself as a bit of an app expert and end up downloading everything shiny and new like a little mobile magpie, then AppXpert has been made specially for you because it rewards you with cash for every new app you test out.

Once you've downloaded the app you're greeted by your own personal dashboard full of app "investigations" to complete.

You then trial these new apps, take them for a test drive and answer a series of questions about your experience, turning you into a proper app detective and earning you 20p each time in the process.

Of course there's a limited number of investigations, but turn on push notifications and you'll get a personal update every time a new one appears for you to try out.

AppXpert is the latest in a string of interesting apps that offer users a cash incentive for getting involved, whether its downloading photos with Foap, attending the gym with Gym Pact or becoming a mystery shopper with Roamler.

concept-appxpert.jpgMaybe it's a testament to just how broke we all are right now, but it's a trend that looks like it's here to stay and given how dependent we all are on our mobiles it requires very little effort to get involved.

AppXpert is available for iOS devices from iTunes for free.

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chaton-top.jpgSamsung's own messaging app, ChatON, has been given a significant upgrade in time for the launch of their forthcoming Galaxy Note 2 handset.
Adding animated emoticons and animated messages to the usual instant messaging feature set, Samsung also offer a host of extra downloadable cartoons to add to your messages, meaning you'll never run out of fresh smileys to send.

ChatON also offers an Enhanced Group Chat option that lets you send messages to multiple buddies at once, letting you have a proper conversation with a bunch of mates on-the-go, on your handset, no matter where you may all be. Whether it being organising a night out, or sending a birthday message to an old chum, ChatON allows you to make messages more colourful than with any other instant messaging service.
Screen Shot 2012-09-10 at 16.32.22.png
Messages sent through ChatON aren't just limited to interactions between other users with the app downloaded. The "Trunk" feature acts as a content sharing box, where ChatON users can leave comments and even share messages with other sites, such as the ridiculously popular Facebook social network.

If you like to keep a track of just how influential you are among your mates, there's also the Interaction Rank system built in, which lets users check how often their pals are interacting with each other, and whose posts are being the most shared.

Available now in 120 countries and 66 languages, ChatON is available not just to Android mobile owners however, but also to iPhone, BlackBerry owners too.

Grab the app for free by clicking here

Beauty Clinic Gadgets


Ellipsis.jpgSponsored post - In association with Ellipse

The world's getting more and more technical, but it can be difficult to know just what technology is out there for certain purposes - such as cosmetic beauty procedures. We're not talking about plastic surgery here, but non-invasive and minimally invasive processes that bring your body back to its best, from plumping out any wrinkles and saggy skin, to dealing with blemishes and unwanted hair growth.


IPL and Laser Hair Removal

IPL is Intense Pulsed Light, a kind of laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation treatment offered by Ellipse BeautyLight. It works on the skin's melanin content, which is capable of turning laser light into heat. Shine an intense beam into a hair follicle, and the heat it generates destroys its ability to grow new hair. Aim it at a blemish - a wrinkle or dark spot, for example - and the destruction is localised to the parts of the targeted cells where melanin is stored, and to the nearby blood vessels that supply the damaged areas of skin.

The process can sound alarming at first, but it's a highly localised procedure that only acts on the parts of the skin that are already damaged, so the overall effect is positive, and IPL laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation can fit into an existing daily routine.

Epilators

Epilators offer an alternative method of hair removal, but it's not for the faint-hearted. In principle, an epilator consists of a tightly coiled spring that is rolled over the target area. The unwanted hairs are caught in its coils and ripped out at the root. You can do it at home, but it can be quite painful - particularly the first time, if the target area has substantial hair growth - so you might want to leave this one in the hands of a professional, and maybe get waxed first before turning to the epilator.

Facial Saunas

Facial saunas are a kind of best-of-both-worlds compromise between a full-body sauna and the old trick of steaming your face over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head. They work on the same principle as the bowl of water, but they make the process much, much easier, keeping the water steaming hot and providing a close fit around your face to keep the steam in. Great for getting rid of head colds, and for adding a touch of plumpness and vibrancy to tired skin.

Hair Care

It's not just your skin that can benefit from a bit of beauty gadgetry - your hair can, too. You might not even think of it as being a gadget, but a decent hairdryer can pack in an awful lot of tech. With a range of nozzles to rival the most complex of vacuum cleaners, your hairdryer can cope with blasting small sections of hair, or more gently drying large areas. Directional nozzles and diffusers put you in total control, heat settings let you adjust the temperature, and separate speed settings are not unusual either. If you suffer from static, look out for ionising hairdryers too - they can help rid your hair of unwanted electrical charges.

Best broadband in Europe?


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A good broadband connection is something that it's easy to take for granted - just a few days without the internet speed we are accustomed to can leave the best of us bashing the keyboard and clicking the mouse in frustration. So it may come as good news to many that Communications Minister Ed Vaizey reiterated earlier this year that the UK will have the best broadband service in Europe.

And this confidence could not come at a better time. According to a report in October 2011, the UK was ranked 25th in Europe in terms of broadband speed - something that the government is committed to changing. It believes we will have the best service by 2015.

Life in the fast lane?

Once obvious question is this: what does the government mean by having the 'best' superfast broadband speed in Europe? According to Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) - the government's vehicle for bringing about the changes - the definition measures access and price in addition to speed.

Under current plans, the government aims to have everyone in the country up and running at a speed of 24Mb by 2015. For some, this may seem a rather long way off. The UK average speed is just 6.8Mb, according to regulator Ofcom, which highlighted the disparity in local speeds last summer.

And this can vary hugely, according to uSwitch.com. The price comparison and switching service underlined the vast gulf separating the average download speeds endured by residents of Cranbrook in Kent - just 1.32Mb - with that of Leamington spa in Warwickshire, where users can expect an average of almost 19Mb.

Problems in the pipeline...

But where does this leave us at the local level? After all, as internet access becomes an increasingly important component of modern life, it's easy to imagine people shying away from living in an area with notoriously low connection speeds.

In an attempt to address this, BDUK is running four pilot projects in rural areas - North Yorkshire, Highlands and Islands, Herefordshire and Cumbria - to understand the factors involved in bringing superfast broadband to country communities.

And with up to a quarter of a million homes in Britain are currently without broadband access, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently stepped in to help keep the changes ticking over. He warned councils that they stand to miss out on millions of pounds in funding if they fail to sign broadband contracts by the end of 2012.

A recent report suggests that councils are going to find it difficult to come up with money to supplement the government help - an integral part of gaining access to the £530 million pot. According to Socitm, the professional body for ICT workers in public services, the hurdle of raising funding to push broadband into rural 'not-spots' could prove a "big ask".

But regardless of where you live, there are some things you can do to help maximise the performance of your home broadband:

• Try to avoid downloading or streaming content at peak evening times
• Ensure your wi-fi is password-protected to block internet leeches
• Stay close to your broadband router - and adjust its performance if necessary
• Update your favourite browser to the latest version
• Close unwanted applications running in the background

The future of TV?

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We often hear about the media revolution that we are living through. And it's true that the internet has very quickly reshaped how wethink about accessing entertainment. But while it's possible that you can find many programmes to watch online - provided you are willing to dig around and put up with poor quality - the simple case is that for many households, the TV is still the central hub for entertainment.

The problem is that increasingly, the old ways of being a slave to the TV schedules are simply not compatible with our modern lives, and on-demand, streaming TV is the answer. And the best services - those that have the best content, and allow the most varied ways of consuming it - are starting to provide slick options that question the traditional model of free TV.

Is the internet evolving into TV?
Recent weeks have seen some interesting developments in the corners of our living rooms, with Microsoft's Xbox 360 - previously thought of mainly as a games machine - changing the way we interact with our TVs. Using the motion sensor Kinect device, users can now navigate through menus, find and play - and pause, rewind etc. - TV, films and more, simply by using gestures or their voices.

While this is not absolutely essential - and won't necessarily do anything more than using a remote control - it's an undeniably exciting and convenient option. Just as important, however, is the content itself; the broad range of internet-delivered, on-demand TV (for example, Sky Go, Lovefilm, 4OD), YouTube and social media platforms - not to mention normal video rental etc. According to Microsoft, this is the future of TV - though it's important to remember that while this content has been brought together into an intuitive package, it is also available on other platforms and devices.

The real good news for us is that, as more broadcasters enter the game, there is more choice - and more competitive prices for consumers. Recent days have also seen 'price wars' for streaming services between Lovefilm and US company Netflix, offering thousands of films and TV show instantly over devices such as games machines, tablet computers or PCs.

Meanwhile, for a potentially more rounded, but comparatively more expensive option, Sky's Go service, which has been around in one guise or another for a number of years, is also available on a variety of mobile devices, in addition to PCs or the Xbox.
Remember that if you want a really broad choice, then you are going to have to subscribe to multiple services. But while it can be confusing to know where to start, some are available with a free, no-commitment trial.

Internet sets

Internet TV sets work on a similar principle, allowing users to use either in-built apps on the TV, or stream internet-based services (such as Lovefilm, or BBC's iPlayer) using a normal home broadband connection. In addition to this, Apple has for some time had its Apple TV device, a small box which allows users to stream media to their TV, and to watch content from its highly popular iTunes store. Meanwhile, internet giant Google itself is predicting that by mid-2012, half of TVs on sale will features its own take on internet sets.

It's clear that these are exciting times for the way TV is delivered and consumed, but the way it is delivered is likely to be more fragmented in the short term, with a potentially confusing array of payment options for service and hardware (at least as far as traditional viewers are concerned).

If you're keen to get up to speed with the new technology, a credit card could be a useful way of helping you spread the cost - especially if you've got a card that offers a 0% period on purchases or rewards your spend - although you may choose to pay for ongoing services with a direct debit. Just make sure you're clued up as to when your interest free period ends to avoid being charged interest.


Issued by Sainsbury's Finance

Splash out on the best technology this Christmas

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Deciding on the perfect Christmas present is often the hardest, and most stressful, part of this most enjoyable time of year. Such is the myriad of options available, and the huge range of requests made, just trying to think of an idea of what to get a certain someone, never mind several people, is enough to bring on a headache. This is where technology and entertainment gifts can be something of a godsend. Whether it's a new TV or games for existing consoles such as Wii Fit plus, one purchase can make an entire family's Christmas.

tesco direct logo.jpgOne idea is to help capture those magical Christmas memories with the giving of a digital camera. There are enough options out there to suit almost all budgets. Tablets are the must-have gadgets of the year and a variety of options are available this festive season.

In terms of apps, the Apple iPad 2 stands head and shoulders above the rest. The apps were designed specifically with the tablet screen in mind and therefore both look and work better than those created for the smaller screen of mobile phones. The iPad 2 is also a superb gaming tablet, taking you right into the heart of the action and, with many games either free or under £1, there's no shortage of options. Even a version of Grand Theft Auto has been planned for the coming months.

Alternatively, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 offers superior customisation, enabling you to adapt your tablet to exactly how you want. Lighter than the iPad, it's both well built and aesthetically impressive. For the businessman, it's hard to look past the Blackberry Playbook, while the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, with its long battery life, is perfect for students as it comes with an optional keyboard.

Similar to the tablet, 2011 has seen the inexorable rise of ebook readers. The new Amazon Kindle offers excellent value for money and gives you access to the comprehensive and easy to use Kindle store. An unrivalled library of books, newspapers and magazines are accompanied by numerous reader reviews to peruse before you buy. Also available is the Sony PRS-T1. It's responsive touch screen and additional stylus allows you to both draw and write text annotations as well as granting you access to books from a wide variety of stores.

When it comes to consoles, it's hard to beat the Xbox 360 250GB. Magnificent gameplay and an overwhelming choice of games with which to enjoy this quality, the Xbox 360 represents the very best of the console world. The PS3 is another option, while those who prefer a slightly more active excursion may be tempted by the Nintendo Wii.

As a stocking filler, it seems appropriate to enjoy the biography of the man who brought us so many of these innovations. Steve Jobs' tragic death in October of this year was mourned the world over. Find out what made the inspirational CEO of Apple tick as he set about shaping our technological lives.

When it comes to technology gifts this Christmas, there are more than enough options at reasonable prices to ensure everyone is left happy.

How To Save Money At The End Of The Year

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With the end of the year marking an increase in spending for a number of households, finding ways to save money is more important than ever. Saving money can be achieved on a number of different purchases, but what are the best ways to keep your wallet in check this year?

Whilst the New Year might be the perfect time to set yourself resolutions over your spending, there is no reason why you can't start implementing some of your plans prior to this event. The end of the year is often considered the most expensive time for households, with bills and other expenses all being higher.

To save money, individuals need to look for inventive ways to reduce their outgoings. However, this does not necessarily mean that sacrifices need to be made and there are a number of ways for people to save money whilst maintaining their current lifestyle and standard of living. Its all about being creative.

Discounts

The easiest ways to save money is by taking advantage of discounts and money off coupons when shopping. These can help to ensure that people do not pay more than is necessary for certain items, allowing them to continue buying their favourite products, but at lower prices.

These types of savings will be available across a number of different products and are, therefore, an incredibly versatile money saving option. For example, products such as Pantene hair care items will be covered by these sorts of discounts, just as cleaning products will be.

Review

Another easy way to save money is to make sure that what you are buying is likely to be useful and efficient. This means that individuals should always look for reviews and customer opinions on different products before committing to a purchase.
These reviews will often be provided as advice style articles, and will be available for a number of different types of purchase. Health and beauty is one of the most common areas which reviews and advice are offered for, with beauty tips being readily available. This means that individuals will be advised on which products are best for certain conditions or situations, allowing them to only purchase products which will be useful - thus saving them money.

Budget

The last way to save money is perhaps the most obvious: set a budget! This is the fundamental step in securing future finances and is something which everyone should do.

When setting your budget make sure that you take into account the different expenditures that you are likely to have each month and ensure there is a portion of money kept aside for 'emergencies'. Remember that you may be able to treat yourself at the end of the month if you have budgeted correctly - especially if you have managed to save money through the use of coupons or discounts.

Ensure that your budget applies to all aspects of your spending and take care not to neglect any areas of spending - however small.

Personalised Cards should be funny!

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DogDoohDah2.jpg Personalised cards were always going to succeed in the UK. We're the biggest nation of traditional card givers - £1.39 billion was spent on single cards in the last year - more than tea and coffee put together.

It is the most successful greeting card industry in the world with 31 cards being sent on average per person each year.

More and more of those are sent via websites offering direct postage and the ability to make the card almost totally bespoke.

Just like any good idea, plenty of sites have launched to offer the service with the card either being posted back to you for signing or on to your friend, sometimes with added gifts such as mugs and aprons.

It saves us a trip to the High Street and the end result is often treasured as a personal piece of art, staying up on the mantle long after the birthday balloons have deflated.

Thumbnail image for DogDoohDah1.jpg When it comes to creating and sending something that really celebrates your friends humour, try TheDogsDoodahs.com whose personalised cards offer to make you 'wet yourself laughing'.

Even if you do keep your underwear pristine, you'll appreciate their range and just as important in the world of ecommerce, the feedback on their customer service and Fan Page bring a smile to the face too.


Managing people the Simple and Effective Way

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Long gone are the days of antiquated personnel records in manila folders with hand written forms, holiday charts and disciplinary letters - the world has moved on. Forward looking companies are moving to HR software to bring efficiency to the Human Resources Department and more importantly to personnel management.

It is astounding how many companies remain stuck in the mud of personnel management but it is even more astounding to see how many organisations worldwide are now using HR Software. HR Software makes personnel management an efficient and effective way to manage people employed in an organisation. HR software can provide a record about individual employees to include all information that is important for personnel management.

The efficiency of such software makes you wonder why all companies are not utilising its powerful organisational capabilities. For HR departments that need to access information and need a fast response to personnel queries there is no excuse not to be utilising HR Software and all that it can bring to a busy department. Some companies worry about utilising HR Software that is downloaded from an outside company but long gone are the days of insecure sights. HR Software can be purchased from a HR software specialist organisation and they will keep the software updated in terms of downloads etc. It is very economical as individual companies do not have to purchase their own specific server or for that matter to remember to back up data, the software provider will take responsibility to make sure the software is operating efficiently and that it is backed-up as per regulations. Storage of data is therefore kept secure and the most secure software providers will guarantee that all data is secure from external threats.

This method of HR Software solutions - that is - remote installation and monitoring is the way of the world in many different areas of business progression. Remote installation requires no on-site equipment, no huge secure, temperature controlled server room and no need to purchase software disks and all the hassle this involves. It maybe however, that Human Resources employees will need some training in using a remote installed HR software solution - but once training is completed the software offers a complete personnel management system that is so efficient it reflects in the competency of the HR staff. HR software can store huge amounts of data and provides HR staff with time efficiencies to concentrate on issues like staff development and staff training. The software can be accessed to indicate where skills gaps are within employee groups, or an individual's personal development requirements - making the job easy for HR staff to arrange future training. Such software can make payroll simple and effective as HR software and Payroll Software can easily link to provide accurate data and ultimately reduce payment errors. For instance an employee beginning maternity leave can have their data entered in the HR software and automatic links will then update Payroll. HR Software is a means to an ends in terms of efficiency and effective personnel management and for those companies that remain blowing the dust of old manila files, HR software solutions are leaving them behind.


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It doesn't matter whether you consider yourself to be a dog person or a cat fanatic. We can all agree that coming home from work to be greeted by the family pet is a lovely feeling.

But if the hairs from your cat or dog send you into a spate of sneezing because of your allergies, then your love can be severely tested.

Thankfully, the Dyson DC25 Animal Bagless Vacuum Cleaner helps man and his favourite pet co-exist by reducing the problem of irritating allergies.

This Dyson vacuum cleaner has a Mini Turbine Head to make short work of hair from cats and dogs, as well as other animal related dirt. It can get into tight places on stairs, upholstery and even in cars.

dyson logo.png Using Dyson's Root Cyclone Technology, this upright vacuum cleaner will never suffer from a loss of suction. It is also as gentle as it is durable, with its motorised brush bars providing a soft touch on hard floors and delicate carpets.

The Dyson DC25 Animal Bagless Vacuum Cleaner has a HEPA filter with a Bactisafe screen to clean and expel air, making life easier for allergy sufferers.

You might think all these features would make the Dyson difficult to move around, but it weighs just 7.5kg and has the patented 'Ball' technology, so you can manoeuvre it with a flick of your wrist.

This Dyson vacuum cleaner is perfect for anyone who wants to live in a happy and clean home with their pets.

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