Acorn Electron

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The Acorn Electron was the very first computer I ever owned, while all my friends were looking at Sinclair’s offerings I was always more drawn to the BBC range of computers including the model B which at the time was too expensive to have as a home computer for me.  What the Acorn Electron offered was a computer from the BBC family at half the size and a fraction of the cost coming in at £199 which back in 1983 when it was released was actually a lot of money considering the price of computers laptops and games consoles like th PS4 and Xbox 1 cost now in 2016.

The model was launched in the August 1983 and this was a must have Xmas present a reported 300,000 orders were placed in the run up to the Christmas and I was on the list, we are going back a long way now but I remember the computer shop at the time and going in to see if it had arrived only to be told it hadn’t arrived. (no checking online or waiting for a text message in 1983).  I believe later because of problems in the ULA the main part of the machine that only one in ten they produced actually worked and therefore only 30,000 ever made the shops and were sold in time for Christmas.

Luckily for me I was one of the luck 30,000 and my Christmas was complete that year.  I never thought 33 years later I would be writing about this little computer which I still own and is hidden in my loft somewhere (I will update this post with a picture next time I come across it).

Games

cassette-playerLoading the games was nothing but frustrating, the games came on a cassette and this was a separate player linked to your computer, you had to press play and adjust the volume to just the right setting to make sure the computer started loading the software.  The screen would then show this sort of psychedelic display of blocks of colours so you knew it was loading, however after what seemed like 30 mins of the screeching noise sometimes you found the game had not loaded and you would have to repeat the whole process this time with the volume slightly adjusted to make sure this time it worked. (I sound like an old dad when I say kids don’t know they are born the speed games load now and they still moan these are slow, if only they knew !!)

I was very much trying to programme the computer in its basic language this is where I think my love of all things gadget and computers came from, however I very much remember the game called Chuckie Egg, the idea was to collect the eggs climbing up levels without being caught by the birds and I think to win you had to reach the main bird in the cage, controls were primitive sided to side up the ladder and down and a jump function.

 

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Specification

CPU: Features a 6502A processor, running at a clock rate of 0.5 – 2MHz, Ferranti Semiconductor ULA coprocessor

Memory 32K RAM, 32K ROM

Sound: One Channel sound

Video Resolution: 640 x 256 pixels

Conclusion

As I actually owned a Acorn Electron and this was my first computer it will always be my favourite from the early home computers of the 1980’s although my friends and family didn’t share my enthusiasm and went onto to buy other machines from this time inclusing the ZX Spectrum, the Dragon 32 an Commador 64 which I will all cover in detail in this journey through the history of the now Retro Computer.

Geeks Have Landed Has Gone All Retro

Retro Gaming

At Geeks Have Landed we have always looked to the future to bring you news and reviews on the latest gadgets, technology and computing.

After being away for a few months we are back but Geeks Have Landed is back with a new focus, rather than bringing you the latest technology and gadgets we are going back in time to bring you all the latest in the world of Retro Computing and Retro Gaming.

Retro computing and gaming machines are making a comeback as people like myself who grew up with these early computers and gaming machines are looking to the past to re-live our youth.

So we will be looking at the original computers and how they evolved into games consoles to the dedicated games consoles and of course talking about those early games that laid the pathway to the games we play today.

We will also be looking at the return of these gaming consoles with the introduction of the new but definitely retro gaming machines like the Nintendo NES and the anticipated Sinclair ZX Vegas.

So I am looking forward to talking all things retro, so without delay lets get started …..

Blingstring Solar Fairy Lights

Solar Lights That Actually Work Really Well.

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I will be honest I have been looking for some solar lights that actually work even when it hasn’t been that sunny and was very pleased when I was offered a sample to try from Red Robin Solar

The lights I was sent were aptly called Bling String Solar Fairy Lights

Getting Started

So straight from the box its very obvious what you need to do, place the solar panel which attaches to a spike into the ground and either attach the lights to a fence or in this case wrap them around a tree. I was sent the Blingstring Fairy lights which contains 100 LED bulbs so wrapped very nicely around my weeping willow tree.

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From Dusk Till Dawn

The lights start to come on as dusk draws in which is lovely on these warm nights when you are still sat outside about 10pm.  The lights give a bright glow to the garden which is really lovely and a nice touch is that they come on a little earlier than most which means you don’t have to wait until really dark to admire them as you can see in the picture below.

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I did try to take a picture at night but they were shining so brightly my phone could not cope with the focus but as pictures go its definitely one for ‘guess what this is’

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Conclusion

The Blingstring Fairly lights available from www.redrobinsolar.co.uk are definitively the best solar lights I have had, they are very easy to install and the solar panel is big enough to power the lights through the night but also as you can see from the picture earlier conspicuous enough to sort of blend in.

All I need now is another set for my other weeping willow tree and my garden will look very attractive on these late summer nights! (hint hint !!)

reichelt elektronik is coming to the UK

Online electronics retailer launches in UK

reichelt elektronik is coming to the UK. A leading retailer for tech, electronics, computer accessories and automation in Europe, reichelt is ready and raring to bring its German penchant for efficiency and discipline to British customers. Purposefully ignoring the high street, the retailer will target the UK with its new English eCommerce site and delivery service alone.

Offering a range of tools, components, tech accessories and more – many of reichelt’s products can be bought 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK. Reichelt was first launched in Germany in 1969 and became successful as a result of its competitive pricing and high stock availability.

Visit and shop: www.reichelt.co.uk

Finally A Printer That Can Hold Its Ink!

Epson Eco Tank ET-4550 Multifunction Printer with Refillable Ink Tanks

Epson Eco Tank ET-4550 Multifunction Printer with Refillable Ink Tanks

Ok so the first question you will be asking yourself is why I should buy this printer when there are cheaper alternatives out there. Well I can only talk about my thoughts on the Espon Eco Tank ET-4550 and have two reasons

  1. I have always had Epson printers and therefore have been very happy with the quality of the print and loved the interface, ease of printing and wireless capabilities which once you have used is invaluable.
  2. I wanted a printer that would last a reasonably long time without needing to replace the ink. I know you should always keep spare ink cartridges in but they are not the cheapest thing to buy and there is nothing worse than running out of ink halfway through a job and having to run to the shops for replacements.

The Epson brings a new concept to the ink issue and that is rather than using small ink cartridges which never seem to last that long you have a bottle of ink and fill a tank with ink, hence the name tank printer.

So if you look at my pictures you will see how the ink comes in bottles and to fill the tank you just squeeze the ink out of the bootle into the appropriate coloured hole.

Epson advertise this as being able to print 11000 pages which I haven’t tested but I am sure is correct.

Find more details at Epson Eco Tank ET 4550

So this is a great small business or office printer with the usual fax, scan, copy and of course print and print wirelessly capabilities.

 

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A Light Bulb That’s Also a Speaker, I Have Heard It All Now!

IMG_20160123_090328LED + Wireless Speaker the Sengled Pulse

Ok so when I was sent these wireless speaker bulbs to test I must say I was very excited, the thought of solving a the old problem of keeping your room clutter free but also enjoy listening to music was right in front of me.

What’s in the box

 

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So when you open the box the first thing that strikes you is how clean and minimalist everything looks, Sengled have gone to a lot of effort to make the packaging and the product match the expectations of the buyer, who lets be honest is going to be someone who lives this clean smart lifestyle.

What to do first.

To be honest this is very intuitive as when you take the bulb speakers out of the box they are basically a bulb with a screw thread so you just do what you would do with a bulb and screw it into the bulb holder in your lamp.

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Ok so when you look at the bulb in the holder it does look a little strange especially being red perhaps the white casing would look better, however turn on the lamp and once the light is on you can’t tell it isn’t just a conventional bulb in the lamp.

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So we have light what about the sound?

So this is where the Sengled Pulse comes into its own so let’s recap you have a LED bulb which uses a lot less power to a conventional bulb only 8Watts and an LED bulb will last for 25000 hours that’s a lot of time for a light to be on so you never have to worry about replacing this bulb.

So these are wireless bluetooth speakers so yes you have guessed it you need a smartphone or tablet to make these speakers work.  So you need to download the app on either android though Google Play or Itunes on your Apple device.

So once you have put the other speaker into your second lamp (and you can have up to 8 in total) on the other side of your room and turned this on you have now created the ability to listen to stereo sound.

So open the App, now the app will sync with the speaker and once are connected you are good to go and begin steaming your music through your new bulb speakers.

I was using Spotify and I must say it was amazing!! it was so weird hearing music playing and not seeing any speakers anywhere.

The app lets you alter the volume, graphic equalizer setting and even dim the bulbs (both control at the same time) for that more moody lighting to match your choice of music.

Ok the sound is excellent but of course its never going to match a full hifi system but I don’t believe this is what it was intended for.  This is a smart way to light your room and listen to music all controlled through your phone or tablet without the unsightly stereo, speakers and cables etc.

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Technical Information

  • Model number: C01-BR30EUE27 / B22
  • LED power: 8 watts
  • Luminous fl ux: 600 lumen Beam angle: 105 degrees Colour temperature: 2700 kelvin – warm white
  • Colour-rendering index: 80 Dimmable: yes, using an app, not through external dimmers
  • Energy supply: 120 VAC, 60 Hz, 170 mA or 230 VAC, 50 Hz, 120 mA
  • Energy consumption: 13 watts (average) 30 watts (maximum, LED light + loudspeaker)
  • Loudspeaker: 13 watts with surround sound e ect
  • Frequency response: 100 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Housing colour: pearl white, tin or red
  • Dimensions: height 140 mm, diameter 98 mm
  • Weight: approximately 420 g
  • Bluetooth standard: v2.1 + EDR (Class 2)
  • Bluetooth Profi le: A2DP, AVRCP, SPP and others

Conclusion

So to sum up this is a great way to make your speakers totally blend into your room and become invisible with the added advantage of being a bulb for your lamps, ingenious!! and the best bit is when you have your friends over what a gadget to show off ! you will find them all looking around to try and work out where the sound is coming from.

As a gadget lover and geek I totally love this, it solves a problem of space, sounds great, has dual uses and let be honest is one totally awesome gadget.

To find out more go to https://www.sengled.com/product/pulse

 

 

 

 

Nano Quadcopter A Must For Gadget Lovers.

Hubsan Q4 White Nano Quadcopter

Q4 White Nano Quadcopter

Hubsan Q4 White Nano Quadcopter

This is the quad copter which has been very kindly supplied to me to try from Red5 Ultimate Gadget Shop.

The first thing that strikes you is how very small this quadcopter is but good things do come in small packages: The Q4 nano as the name suggests is a mini quadcopter but don’t let that fool you this quadcopter flies extremely well and is very fast which does take some getting used to at first. Red5 sell this at £29.95 and at just 5cm in length and width this cheap drone is very much up there with the big boys in terms of flying and tricks you can do.

Looks and features

The first impressions are that although it’s small it does feel well made and with the red and blue LED lights and coloured blades it really does look the business.  One great feature that this nano quadcopter has is the ability to always correct itself so its always the right way up this is certainly something I am thankful for  especially with my flying, the name given to this technology is ‘position recovery’ sounds a bit like something you would hear in an hospitals A&E department.

This quad runs off a 100mAh lithium polymer battery, charging is done through a USB cable which like your phone can be done through your computer or a plug socket, charging to full takes about 20 mins from a plug which isn’t too inconvenient although the technical specs says 40 mins which is more likely to be through a computer and with 5 mins flying time which I never checked myself as I was always having too much fun to clock watch!

Technical Specs

  • 100 mAh 3.7 Li-Po battery
  • Charge time approx. 40 minutes
  • Flight time approx. 5 minutes
q4 nano copter controller

q4 nano copter controller

 

 

Why is this the perfect Christmas gadget gift

The Q4 nano quadcoter is really fun to use and is great value at £29.95 it is also claimed to be one of the worlds smallest and can be flow in the dark thanks to its bright red and blue LED’s.  This drone type copter is just simple, loads of fun and the only problem you will have is waiting for your turn.  If you want to find out more and read some very positive 5 star reviews  about this nano quadcopter head over to Red5 Ultimate Gadget Shop.

At the moment they have an offer to buy two for £50 this will definitely cut down on those arguments on who’s go is it now.

Anyway until then I think its my turn again !!

boycee

 

 

 

 

Rob Boyle

5 Weirdest Developments In App Gaming

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If the emergence of the app gaming market has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is out-of-bounds for developers. Where console and PC games are concerned, the creative teams behind the titles are a little more limited. These games are expensive to make and they are released far less frequently, so for the most part developers tend to stick to proven styles, franchises and, elements of game play.

In the app market, there is virtually no need for this kind of restraint. While the games can still be very expensive and time-consuming to make, they are still far easier to produce than most console titles, which means a flop one month could be followed with a success four months later. And whether because of this or purely due to creative diversity among app developers, we tend to see a lot of bold concepts making waves in the app stores.

These five developments in particular illustrate just how strange app gaming really is.

1. Uh, Pixels? Okay… Pixels!

We live in an age of unprecedented graphical capability. Video games basically look like real life, and critics and players alike care almost as much about aesthetics as they do game play, but somehow or other, even in this environment, the app market has been taken over by games with intentionally old-fashioned – and sometimes downright crude – graphics. The very fact that there are lists of the best “pixel games” in the app store sounds absurd in 2015, and yet these are often some of the best games out there. Ridiculous Fishing, Canabalt, Only One, and even Minecraft! These are just a few examples of crazy popular app games with stunningly simple visuals there’s just something charming about the entire genre.

2. Word Games Are Fun Again

Most of us are pretty much done with in-person word games unless it’s a very specific situation. If your grandmother wants to play Scrabble over the holidays, you’ll probably go ahead and bust out the board. If you’re stuck on a runway waiting for takeoff, you may flip to the back of a magazine and try out some crosswords. But when was the last time you voluntarily played a word game just for kicks? I’m willing to bet it was on your smartphone.  From Words With Friends to Word Brain, and with plenty of games in between, there are a lot of titles in this category that have been shockingly popular on mobile platforms.

3. …And So Is Bingo

Casino games, too, are usually played primarily in a few specific circumstances. You might play when you’re, you know, actually at a casino. Or again you may play poker or bingo during a family game night over the holidays. It is no surprise that poker has made it big in the app gaming market, as it remains the maybe most beloved card game in existence, but the fact that other casino games – slots, roulette, and even bingo – have established footing on mobile platforms is a little more surprising. In part, it’s because the big developers and sites behind most apps in these categories have found fun ways of making them more creative and engaging than standard bingo cards and the like.  This site represents one of the busiest bingo platforms online or in app stores and features a range of themes with something for just about everyone. Through this kind thematic diversity, bingo and other simple casino games have found popularity again.

4. Management > Action

Pick a sports game, fighter, or RPG that you’ve either personally played or come across in app stores.  I’d be willing to bet it’s more about collecting characters and improving your team than actually playing the sport, or engaging in fights. The two most prominent recent examples are FIFA and Madden mobile versions, both of which are very heavy on team ownership and roster management features. Yes, you can still get on the field and play the games, but the real point of it all is to keep improving your teams so as to reach higher levels of competition and achieve more goals. It’s actually a clever way for mobile developers to take advantage of smaller screens and simpler controls, managing a roster is the same on mobile as it might be on a console, whereas the actual action of the games is a little more primitive.

5. Stories Matter

There’s a growing perception that gaming in modern times is all about interaction and multiplayer. To an extent, this is easy to understand.  The console market is catering more and more to fans of multiplayer gaming, and even in apps there are a lot more player vs. player contests available, even some of the games mentioned or alluded to above come with their own online networks of players and full multiplayer capability. Oddly enough, some developers have also gone the other way with their apps, seeking to create immersive, wholly individual experiences for users.  This list of worthwhile app games shows a little bit of what I’m referring to, with titles like Device 6, 80 Days, and The Room all being mentioned. The (unofficial) category of narrative app games includes many more than just these titles but, also including some of the best-designed games out there.

Each of these developments is somewhat surprising given the overall state of the video game industry. But within them you’ll find some of the most engaging categories and individual games available for mobile.

Are Drones A Danger To Home Security?

drone danger to securrity

drone danger to securrity

Unmanned drones have become a popular commercial gadget in recent years and are readily available online for relatively cheap amounts. Also known as quad or multi-rotor helicopters, a drone with camera or video technology can be purchased for under £100 and flown at extensive ranges.

With this remarkable technology accessible to all, it appears burglars have begun taking advantage of consumer drones to aid criminal activity. Police forces across the UK have reported a rise in unmanned aircraft flying over households to take illegal surveillance images.

These images can then be used to find weak spots across the home, such as older style doors and conservatories, which can be vulnerable to break-ins. Furthermore, criminals can scope out potential access and escape routes from this acquired bird’s eye view.

Crime Reports

With details gathered by the Freedom of Information Act, it has emerged that 16 incidents of suspicious drone activity were reported between January 2014 and March 2015 in Suffolk alone. Securing convictions for attempted illegal surveillance are very hard to achieve however, especially as you can’t really prove if a drone owner has good or bad intentions.

Drone guidelines, prescribed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), are also difficult to apply. This has been noted by the CAA themselves, who are seeking further help from the government to help update regulations; these are likely to come into force by the start of 2016.

Staying Vigilant

The current rules state that unmanned aircraft must not be:

  • Out of sight of its remote pilot.
  • Over or within 150 metres of any congested area.
  • Within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.

As drones become more accessible, it appears likely that the presence of unmanned aircraft will increase across neighbourhoods in the UK. Drones will be clearly visible in daylight, and some models make a loud noise when flying, so they can be spotted relatively easily. Residents are asked to report suspicious flights or any violations of the above rules to the non-emergency police line on 101.

Home Security

If you are concerned about the presence of drones above your vicinity, you should take extra care in home security. Larger properties with substantial grounds and additional outdoor buildings may be the most likely targets.

Make sure front and back doors are securely locked, even if you’re present in the home, using chains and double-locks if possible. Windows are also a prime target for intruders so ensure they’re also closed sufficiently to prevent easy access.

Homeowners should also consider implementing further security measures, such as comprehensive CCTV surveillance systems to act as both a deterrent and prosecution method if criminal proceedings do arise.

In any case, the emergence of more accessible drone planes, equipped with high quality video capturing technology, is another aspect of home security to consider. However, if home owners take the right precautions and report suspicious flights early, then criminal activity can be averted.

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