The Latest Social Media Revolution Video

By Erik Qualman – author of Socialnomics

“Each day, 20% of Google searches have never been searched before.” That is quite something.

1 in 5 divorces are blamed on Facebook as well.

Keeps you thinking!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – In-depth Review for GirlGuides

“All in all I found the Samsung Galaxy to be user-friendly and comfortable to hold and browse, with easy access to the Android Market and loads of apps to choose from in order to totally personalise your tablet experience.”

To read the full review, check it out on GirlGuides

Girl Guides In-depth Review – Sony Cybershot

Sony Cybershot TX100V in depth review

This little camera has a lot of functionality and despite this it is light, slim and easy to use. There are so many different things you can do with this little beauty that it’s actually hard to believe.

Quick Look:

  • 16.2 megapixel Exmor R Cmos censor
  • 4x optical zoom
  • 25mm wide angle lens (35mm format)
  • 3.5 inch wide touch screen display
  • Full HD movie
  • GPS compass to geo-locate your images

I’m not much of a manual reader. When I get new toys I like to be able to switch them on and play from the word go. This means that gadgets need to be intuitive so that i don’t need to put it down and pick up a booklet to figure out how to make something do what I want it to. This Cybershot was just right for me. I switched it on, played with the zoom, located the settings, and changed some of them, switched the sounds off and had the basics figured out fairly quickly.

The great thing about this camera though is that there is so much functionality that you can keep figuring things out for days. There are various different settings such as superior auto, intelligent auto, background de-focus and so on, and within each of these settings is another set of settings, which vary from one to the next. So on one setting you will have 4 or 5 options, and when you change that setting your options change to suit the setting. For example, with the background de-focus setting on, you can also choose the soft skin option which smoothes out your skin to a massive degree – who needs anti-wrinkle creams anyway? Whereas, your smile shutter option may only be available with certain other settings.

I was rather impressed with the 4x optical zoom within the 35mm format as this means that even at full zoom, you don’t have a lens popping out of the front of the camera, enabling it to retain it’s sleek appearance while giving you the most advantage.

the sunset from my window - no zoom

Same sunset, from same room, zoom engaged

With the 16.2 megapixels that this cyber-shot offers, you can blow those embarrassing photos up to epic proportions for a 21st gift, thrill granny with great big portraits of her grand-kids, or turn those stunning landscape or sunset photos into real works of art.

“Sony is one of the first camera manufacturers in the industry to provide a 16.2MP CMOS sensor, which is a great benefit for consumers,” said Kelly Davis, director of the digital imaging group at Sony Electronics. “They are getting the best image quality as well as all of the benefits of the “Exmor R” CMOS sensor technology in very compact, stylish cameras.”

The incorporated wide angle lens means that even when objects are very very close to you as you shoot them, you’ll get that little bit extra into the picture.

I love the landscape panoramic option. Although I’m really not sure how much use one would get out of it, it’s definitely a fun extra to have and I’m sure the quirkyness of it will captivate many a new user, for a little while at least.

180 degrees of the garden

I’ve also just discovered that there is a high resolution portrait panoramic option that produces a 42megabyte file. If you set the Panorama image size to High Resolution, a 43 megapxel-size panoramic image can be shot. (10480×4096)

I think my favorite feature of this camera is the background de-focus option. Being able to focus on the foreground and have a blurry background is something I’ve always wanted a fancy SLR camera for. Now that I can do it with this point and shoot digital there’s no need!

background defocus option

My second favourite feature is the soft-skin function. As mentioned earlier, this is only available within certain settings, one of which is the background de-focus. It does exactly what it sounds like it does – softens the look of your skin. It glosses over small blemishes and wrinkles and basically makes you look like you’ve just had a studio shoot (well, maybe not quite that good, but it is very impressive). 10 years younger? Who needs L’Oreal anyway?

Softskin option - who needs anti-wrinkle creams?

The video recording is of very good quality and it records club-loud sound perfectly adequately. I recorded an electric violinist playing to a club beat background in Movida the other night and on playback the sound is very clear and not distorted at all. The box does specify, in case anyone was wondering about the HD video option, that “an optional HDMI cable and a TV supporting HDMI input are required for viewing HD still images and movies”. Another cool function within the video recoding is that you can capture stills while continuing to record.

Impressive capture in low light situations

The camera takes the picture as soon as you press the button so there’s much less chance of missing that perfect shot as you wait for the shutter to close which I have found with other point and shoot cameras. It has pretty decent low light recognition and options, and the HD video recording is also a great extra.

The camera comes with a lithium ion battery pack and can be charged either by connecting it to your computer via USB, or connecting it to the battery charger pack which plugs into the wall. Both of these options can be done without removing the battery pack from the camera. The battery seems to last quite a while – I had it for two weeks and only had to charge it right at the end. It takes around 2 and a half hours to charge fully so if you don’t plan ahead you could end up stuck with no battery at that all important moment.

There are so many things you can do with this camera that I reckon it will keep any new users entertained for weeks on end. There are quite a few available which I haven’t even mentioned here, such as the smile shutter, 3D shoot functionality which includes 3D still image, 3D sweep panorama and 3D sweep multi angle. I imagine a 3D TV would be required in order to get any benefit from this function. Another thing I haven’t mentioned is the GPS location so that you can geo-tag images. I imagine this would be a great function for all you adventurers out there, not only as proof that you’ve actually “been there, done that” but also got the photo, and the imprinted GPS evidence!

For all the technical details on the camera, go and check out the Sony website.

Turn-ons

  • Packed with fantastic features
  • Easy to get started with but still plenty to discover
  • Slim and stylish (love the red)
  • Shoots quickly and at great quality
  • Waterproof, freeze-proof, shock-proof, dust-proof

Turn-offs

  • Touch screen means finger prints all over the camera screen (yuck)
  • Video didn’t import automatically
  • Quite pricey

Price: R3800

For the original post and other great reviews, visit GirlGuides.co.za

Girl Guides Snapshot Review – Sony Cyber-shot TX100V

 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX100V

As a lover of photography (complete amateur) I was really excited to get my hands on the new Cyber-shot to see what it has to offer.If all the information on the box is to be believed then it is quite something to behold.

Slick range of colours

This slim little piece of technology employs a 16.2 megapixel “Exmore R” CMOS image sensor, a 25mm wide angle lens, 3.5” Xtra fine OLED and full HD movie shooting capabilities, as well as 3D sweep panorama options and Superior Auto ‘intelligent’ modes. 4x optical zoom is not to be forgotten here as well Optical steady shoot. I may have to go and do some research to figure out exactly what half of this means, but it sounds good.slick colour rangeThe model I’m lucky enough to be testing out is a beautiful metallic cherry red, and considering all the functionality of the camera, I can’t get over how slim and light it is. Sliding the front shutter down switches the camera on and the touch screen is easy to figure out and navigate.

Quick look at some of the menu options

So far, so good.

For the original post go to GirlGuides.co.za

Girl Guides Review – LG Flatron Colour pop Monitor

LG Flatron W1930S Colour POP monitor – In-depth Review

At a glance

  • Colourful
  • Kickstand with tilt makes it easy to maneuver
  • 19-inch screen display

The monitor was designed for use as a secondary display for laptop or netbook users when they find their screens are just too small to accommodate everything they are trying to do, or to catch the eye colour of that hunk in the movie they’re watching. The kickstand means that the monitor will sit level with a notebook monitor, and the tilt function (which enables you to tilt the monitor up to about 30 degrees) means that you can line it up exactly with the tilt of your notebook screen. This reduces the movement required in order to look back and forth between the two.

The monitor has a 19-inch screen and a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. I found the display to be quite sharp and clear, although I did find that with it being more rectangular than square, certain things seemed too wide – my TweetDeck columns for example just seem a little squished. In the grand scheme of things though, this really isn’t a huge problem and I’m certain that if I were using the monitor for any length of time I would probably get used to it.

I think my favourite thing about this monitor is that it stands on any surface. This means that, at the height of laziness last weekend when I didn’t feel like sitting at my desk anymore, I picked the monitor up, shifted my tower along the floor a little, and plonked it on my bed. This, together with the fact that I have a wireless keyboard and mouse meant that I could lie on my bed, expending the least amount of energy possible while still breathing, and do research, type, add more episodes to a play list or skip to the next song without getting off my lazy butt. It was bliss!

Candy Purple

The monitor comes in 3 different colours – the pinky-purple colour pictured above (which almost matches my duvet cover), a pastel blue and a standard black. The colour is only in the front, while the back side of the monitors are all white. The monitor has an energy saving feature, and in sleep mode it uses under 1W. It also wakes up very quickly once you’ve moved the mouse or tapped the keyboard, unlike some other monitors I’ve used.

Laziness and bliss

The menu buttons can be found on the bottom right corner next to the power button. They offer the basic options where you can adjust the picture, colour, tracking and set up. I discovered thought that pressing factory reset has resulted in a shift of the display to the left of the screen leaving a strip down the right hand side not being utilised, effectively reducing the display size by about an inch. (And if you figure out how to get this back to using the full screen – let me know coz I’ve tried everything I can think of!)

To be fair, aside from the colour, it’s a pretty standard monitor that’s nice to have at home, with a no mess no fuss attitude, but it isn’t really portable. I wouldn’t mind seeing real portability by providing this monitor with a USB connection rather than a standard wall plug, however I do feel that it’s meant to be more of the part you leave behind when you pick up your laptop and go, or that you plug into because you want something a bit more substantial.

For the more “technical specs” you can go and have a look at the LG website.

Turn ons

  • The coloured options offer a refreshing option from the standard black monitors you see on a daily basis
  • The kickstand rocks – I love that it’s stable on my bed, and on pretty much any surface for that matter
  • The display is a good size and fair resolution
  • Wakes up quickly from sleep mode

Turn offs

  • Menu tool buttons are a bit fiddly
  • I can’t figure out how to get the display to reach across the full screen like it was initially (after fiddling with the menu buttons). I fear this may be a case of PICNIC – Problem In Chair Not In Computer!
For the original post on Girl Guides, go here, and if you’d like to read my initial impressions of the product, the Snapshot review is here.

Aaah me, the wonders of technology

On Friday afternoon I got off work a couple of hours early in order to get home and finish packing for my Durban long-weekend (and to catch the Royal kiss but that’s beside the point). Having managed to get myself organised without a major panic, finish packing and do everything that needed to be done in time to leave home by 3, to check-in at the airport by 3.45, I was surprised how smoothly everything seemed to be going.

Naturally, this was all too good to be true. My dad kindly drove me to the airport and on the way we got involved in a chat regarding all sorts of new technology. He’s recently started reading TechCentral and now fancies himself quite “clued” for an old guy. This means that at every possible opportunity, he throws in a comment, a knowledgable and relevant one at that, about anything technological that he has recently learnt about.

So, interesting convo in progress, I put my beloved phone under my leg on the seat (partly in order to avoid encouraging a smash and grab situation by leaving it on my lap, and partly to stop from being distracted by the wonders of Twitter via Echofon).

Getting out of the car at the airport, I grabbed my handbag, and went to the boot to get my suitcase and hand luggage bag, kissed me dad goodbye and missioned off into the airport.
At the check-in counter, I went digging in my handbag, in which my phone is ever-elusive, as is I’m sure the case for lots of gals. Not locating the phone in the first round of scrabbling, my heart dropped ever so slightly. Thinking I must have missed it I continued the scrabble post-check-in with bag on floor in middle of airport, chucking out wallet, charger cable, camera, and any number of other random crap that lives in the deep dark depths of said bag.

No phone. No beloved iPhone that keeps me in touch with Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and on Whatsapp, and in touch with friends whose numbers I do not remember off-hand. No way to get hold of brother who I am going to see in Durbs. No phone with the sms of the address of the complex I need to tell the taxi to take me to when I arrive.

So I bolted downstairs to the payphones – yes, they still make those – threw in one of the two R5 coins scrounged from the bottom of bottomless-pit-handbag, only to have it fly straight through and drop out the bottom. At this point I was already trying to dial. Put the coin in again. Still no go. Apparently the pay phone does not accept “new” R5 coins. Or this one didn’t anyway. Went to try the phone on the other side – card phone. Panic – need to get hold of dad before he gets too far to bring it back to me. How will I get hold of anyone all weekend? How will I survive?

Run to the hotdog stall to try and get change for the only R20 note in my purse. He gives me new R5 coins. Give it back and ask him for R2 coins. Run back to the phone. Get the coins in, manage to dial half the number before it spits them back out at me. Try again, dial a different number – still no go. It’s now 4.05pm. My boarding gate closes at 4.15pm and I figure even if I get hold of dad he won’t have time to get back to me before I fly so I give up. Go back upstairs. Hold frustration at bay. Go through the security check. Try one last pay phone to try and find out address of accommodation for the weekend. Which was in an sms on my phone. Manage to get the coins to go through. Manage to dial the number. No ringing tone coming through. And yet the payphone is taking my money. Hang up and try one more time. Same story.(No wonder people have cell phones.)

4.15pm. I’m going to be late to board. Mission back to gate D1. Look at my ticket and realise I’m meant to be at gate D8. Mission back across to the other end of the domestic boarding gates. Just past the bank of payphones I was just standing at. Stand in the queue. Listen to the announcements.

4.30pm. This an announcement for the Kulula/BA flight blablabla – we have been delayed due to a late inbound wakawaka… New departure time is now 5.30pm.

As much as this annoys me, it means I still have time to try and figure out where I’m going at the other end, and try and let my brother know that I’m going to be late and won’t be able to get hold of him.

Sit myself down on the airport floor. Take out my netbook (thank goodness I threw it into my hand luggage at the last minute). Wifi hotspot – score! Purchase airtime – no score. Grab my 3G and plug in. Thank goodness for my 3G. (Which I won in a competition with Gadget at the beginning of the year). Tweet desperate “delayed and have no phone” tweet. More than one friendly response of – who do you need us to get hold of – thanks millions to Frankie and Tam.

Tam phoned my mum. Mum gave her the address of the flat where I was to be staying. Tam tweeted me the address. Tam told mum about delayed flight. Mum phoned brother and explained situation. Brother said he’d wait outside flat and lookout for me at about the time I should hopefully be getting there.

Thank heavens for technology. Maybe a little sad to know how much I depend on it but in these sorts of situations it really does make life so much easier. A quick phone call would have saved me so much admin. But netbooks and 3G rocked my world this weekend.

Moral of the story – all the technology in the world can’t help you if you leave it on the front seat of your dad’s car.

xx