Monday, 22 June 2015

MusicMonday - cloudy

Morning all,

It's seeming to be a cloudy one today with the rain trying to come out to play, spoiling park fun time later, I know it'll cause havoc as a result - oh well he says smiling. I've still made cakes.

However the first thing I hear on the radio is this little gem from the 90's making a glum day good
I give you 4 Non Blondes - What's Up live, to brighten up your Monday

Friday, 19 June 2015

Getting your game on with the Arcadie #DadApproved

Hi all, 
With fathers day zooming towards us the lovely people at Moonpig invited me to join the Dads' Institute, testing fathers gifts to give your dad the best gift possible. We love hugs and pancakes too, just saying. 
In the name of retro fun we were sent the Arcadie Arcade cabinet from Zeon Tech. While not a full size cab with a Jamma board slapped inside, it makes use of the Apple iPhone and iPod touch to become your portable arcade machine with the ability to play your tunes or make calls in between game time. 

On first appearance it looks true to arcade cabinet from the 80's thankfully without the CRT burn in and cigarette burns on the side. Using this is as simple as loading the game you wish to choose and inserting your device into the docking connector nestled inside when prompted. Once calibrated it's ready to go with this taking very little time in total before playtime.

The Games are all in the Apple A

The controls feel solid, with a satisfying click many of us will remember from the arcades or from posh joysticks with microswitches.

pp store with a mix of free and paid apps from a host of developers and the vast majority are real good fun to play with easy controls.

There is the odd issue with some games, and this with the third party ones - some seem to struggle with the controls. This varied with the iPhone 4s and iPod 4th Gen with the iPod liking more games, I assume this is from the screen protector as some games use carefully positioned touch pads inside the unit to control games.

Even with this in mind, it's an enjoyable addition to your iDevices bringing with it lots of fun and a growing catalogue of  games that ask for nothing more than your imagination and attention. We've been having score contests here. With the loser having to do the housework (me again - pfft!) I can happily say it's Approved by me and the kids! If your dad loves 8bit, arcade and has an iDevice - he'll love this. Click here to buy one from your dad. To learn more about Moonpig's Dad Approved gifts for fathers day click here 


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Dear Archos

Hi Archos, and thanks for the replacement tablet.
But I have to say this is a bit of an annoyance now, tablet four and it's got another issue, making me wonder what tests are done on tablets when their sent out as warranty replacements

Let's elaborate in greater detail why I'm annoyed, shall I?

September 2014 The good lady buys me a Xenon 80 tablet, (When was plastic considered as sleek aluminium casing?) it was a good price with a quad core Qualcomm CPU and 3G capability built in. Works well but on occasions the screen loses sensitivity and a reboot in most cases will fix it and when that failed a hard reset does the trick. Annoying if you're working on a project and you forget to save or sync to Google Drive prior to reset.
Come December it's become unbearable, the panel is growing harder and harder to use so I send it back to Archos in January (it was late as Christmas took priority) who take it to their repair centre in France via Geodis. They send me another one a few weeks later.

The new tablet arrives and the touch-panel was never checked and faulty on delivery. tried using it for a day and ended up sending it back, thankfully they picked up via UPS this time, I'm thankful for that to be fair, from this point on they have been good, but it gets worse.

They replace the tablet with the 80b Xenon. a Mediatek based tablet with similar specs but an improved screen resolution, Android Kitkat, dual sim cards and voice calling capabilities. This worked well but the touch-screen wasn't very responsive again. A hard reset didn't fix this and I assumed it was down to different hardware until we went back to constant failures needing rebooting or hard reset.

Again Archos kindly replaced the device last week with another 80b Xenon. However the tablet came with a damaged sim card cover, the latches were snapped off. But the touchscreen worked a million times better. I would have forgiven Archos for this. Until a few days later when using the device more when the touch-screen went completely ma. Touches were not working properly, moving apps to the home screen refused to work and it was completely hit and miss.
This seemed to happen while it's on charge but once off charge it requires a reboot to fix this issue, happening with all but one charger and that's underpowered. So I have to power off and leave it to charge. Again, not ideal is it..

I do hope this won't become a constant game of replacing things until September, or for another year if its a two year warranty. And to Archos credit they have fantastic customer support teams and are quick to replace the devices and ship them back and forth but I wish their repair centres would actually do proper checks on devices before they send them out to customers.
And I'll say this now I don't want a freebie, Archos. Just a tablet I can use without fear of it failing every few months.

I've been using Archos products for a long time and the tablet is used at all events when out and about, getting people asking where I got the 80b Xenon down to it's looks with most surprised at the price direct from Archos But how can I recommend a product if they're prone to fail?

If anyone also has any ideas on what to do here, please let me know?


Update - On asking Archos via Facebook about the situation I got the a response as seen in the image to the right. It seems the social media team are not blessed with the same caring attitude that tech support are.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Music Monday - Silly

It's been a mad week here, with more randomness than you can shake a strange stick at, however it's lacked silly moments so I've decided it's time for one.

I give you. 7 Seconds Of Love's drunken hit - Let's get wasted.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Kurio Pocket Tablet Review Pt2

Many of you may remember my first post talking about the Kurio Pocket Tablet last year? No? Well, read the first post as this is post 2 of 2

Like most families we've become a bit obsessed with technology here at Imwellconfused towers, but at the same time we're concerned about application safety, dodgy adverts based on our search histories and malware laced full games. While many of these concerns are easily resolved by common sense, it's not always cut and dry when it comes to applications. But for protecting the kids we do have an ace up our sleeves - The Kurio Pocket Tablet. 

The Kurio Pocket is a small 4 inch android tablet the size of many android phones on the market, loaded with an adapted variant of Android JellyBean with multi user accounts, internet and game restrictions and individual time settings for all user accounts on the device. Add in the 50 pre-installed games, multimedia apps, utilities and educational tools and the opportunity to install a host of additional apps through either the Kurio store or the Google Play Store, with enough safety tools built in to keep the most worrisome parents calm, trust me.

Hardware wise the Kurio holds it's own quite reasonably, while not a speed demon it's more than capable for children to play games, watch YouTube videos, Skype their friends and browse the internet without throwing a wobbler. Even HD video clips my personal tablet struggles with the Kurio Pocket plays without a hitch. only finding the odd slowdown when the tablet's been on for more than 2 days where the girls have been catching up on their My Little Pony Game, leaving the device overnight on charge and going back to it.
The battery life is very impressive, lasting most of the day if the girls are mooching on YouTube, Spotify or any other bandwidth hogging applications the buffering can eat into battery life, but games and applications seem to be less taxing on the pint sized tab. With an Idle test from full to flat we were able to pull 75 hours of runtime, with the screen on full brightness and WIFI on that's better than my personal tablet in flight mode.

The screen and touch panel are adequate for the Kurio Pocket tab, while many geeks would hope for higher resolutions or a slightly larger screen it's a perfect balance. A higher pixel density would eat more battery and memory and a larger display size (not resolution) would cost more to manufacture. A good compromise in my mind. Also, the reinforced plastic screen is ultra tough, designed to take a lot of stress from most users without failing, most manufacturers should take a leaf out of Kurio's book here.

The Kurio Pocket has 8gb of storage, with a larger than normal amount taken for the OS they make up for this with removable applications and for those who need a more space the MicroSD card slot can accept upto 32gb of extra storage, but with the vast majority of software being removable meaning the 8gb storage should be adequate for most purposes.

The cameras aren't the highest of quality but suitable for Instagram, skype or making simple YouTube videos of their toys, with the built in microphones picking up voice exceedingly well, including the one on my headphones.

Audio playback quality is good, I've commandeered the headphones for the main PC as they have volume limited cans for their ears, the Kurio seems to have limited audio playback volumes to a safe level. Playback is decent with good sound levels with the bundled headphones.

The micro USB port accepts USB on the go, meaning you can use a mouse, 3g modem, memory stick, or other USB powered device on the tablet with the bundled OTG cable, making the device extremely versatile something many devices lack. 

Software wise there's a host of pre-installed games and educational titles on the device but it's main feature being Kurio Genius™ Kid-Safe Web Filtering System, keeping kids safe online and updating daily. Children can't also bypass the protection is tightly integrated  into Android for a seamless layer of protection the kids don't realise is in place.
Bundled applications are a pretty good, with the odd trial and ad supported game. They play well, but the girls prefer specific games in the play store being Nyan Cat - Lost in Space, My Little Pony, Toca Boo (Interesting note - Lissy named the ghosts in the game) and Youtube to name but a few. They're happy and on a safe environments so I'm happy.

Both girls really like the Kurio Pocket. while Lissy has her own android tablet already, Vee's taken a shine to this tablet, using it to research her homework from school, play games and we've been working together on programming in BASIC using Frodo, and when they're feeling under the weather they load their favourite online radio station up to help them sleep the night through.
To the girls its a fun, small tablet that's come with us everywhere we've gone so far this year with a large amount of the Instagram pics I took at the London Bike Show taken with the Kurio Pocket tab and had enough juice left for the kids to play games on the train. Seriously it's fantastic.

While overall we're impressed with the Kurio pocket tab it does have the odd complaint, with the screen taking 3-4 seconds to re-initialise if the tablet has been unused for more than 10 minutes, more of an annoyance but it's nothing to really complain about.

Overall the Kurio Pocket tab is an amazing little device with enough functionality for the entire family to get on with and at a fantastic price point. The girls both love it and I love the safetynet features built in like real-time web filtering, protection from malicious sites, and in app purchase protection with pin codes.

You can get one by clicking here, and for more information about Kurio's Tablets click here and to find out where you can buy one click here

If you want to know anything about the Kurio Pocket, please let me know and I'll get back to you asap (yes, there is an update coming I've heard) 

Monday, 1 June 2015


Yes, It's MusicMonday.

And I'm not quite dead yet. But the pc is pretty fooked thanks to a nasty strain of malware killing the pc and my offline blog fodder folder. We'll ignore the damage to the network. The Pc is still not right after reinstallation (the master recovery partition seems to have been infected too!)
Huge apologies if I owe you posts - We're behind badly thanks to this with two set to be released today! D'oh!

The show must go on by Queen will have to be musicmonday for me! this week.

Now - onto the schoolrun! Toodles!

Monday, 25 May 2015

MusicMonday - Wakeup

If you've just realised half term is here something is wrong with you, or you're just too cool for school.

But with that it leaves lots of fun and games with the smalls, so for this week the lurgie can sod off and it's time to bounce, smile and be random!

With that I give you Don Diablo - Back to life, the perfect tune to shake your booty to while having fun.