Sniffing Around CES2014 in Vegas!


Consummer Electricla Show 2014 in Vegas

I have always wanted to put that as a title. However sadly we are not at CES 2014 in Vegas but we are sniffing around some of the reports that are appearing online to see what is being displayed and demoed this year.

The news if heavy with all sorts of reports from all our favourite electrical companies, Samsung stealing a lot of the press with their Ativ Book 9 2014 edition and of course their curved televisions 50-inch OLED.

LG have released their curved phones, which use OLED technology. They have also been showing off their Fireweb Firefox driven phone and not to be left out of course have launched and showed of their 4K curved OLED TV, 77-inch in size with a picture that is stunning.

Sony is producing facts and figures about sales of the new PS4 against the Xbox One and it looks like Sony is in the lead now and if the figures are to be believed, well in front.

Other news, is that Android devices are to top 1 billion in 2014, so not much slow down there.

One of the most interesting facts is that there are more wearable devices than ever before and a lot of talk about Intel moving in this direction. This is firing up rumours that Intel might be giving up on its mobile ambitions to pursue the wearable market. Time will tell.

Lenovo are still prominent this year with their Lenovo Thinkpad 8, they claim this newest offering,  “will put a full PC in the palm of your hands.”

Other memorable news feeds are talking about the progress of self-driving vehicles, again this technology is developing fast and the computers are now able to handle more data than ever before, so watch out for the self-driving vehicle coming your way soon, no pun intended.

I will leave you with this link to a 3D food printer that has appeared at CES this year, it prints chocolate and candy….now there’s a printer for the office……

3D Food Printer

Yes, CES 2014 has once again not let any of us GEEKS down. There are developments from the hardware manufacturers like Tegra and snapdragon showing off where things are going next right down to new travel experiences and viewing delights.

Check out some of the feeds online and start to get excited about what is happening in the world of tech.

What would you like to see come sooner rather than later, let us know?

Ian Thomson
IT Turning Point

Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Gadget List……

Christmas gift list

Happy Christmas from us All

It’s that time of the year again when people are eying up their Christmas want lists and gadgets are almost likely to be up there near the very top for many of us.

From a new mobile to a tablet computer there are an array of gadgets that can keep us drooling and wanting the next best thing. So who are doing the most obvious pushing this Christmas Time? Who will Santa be wooed over by when he is choosing your and my presents this year.


The IPhone 5S is still high in the popularity stakes with its clean looks and fingerprint recognition. Will an Apple at Christmas be your thing. At around £549 to buy.
HTC One is the competitor and again sturdy design with HTC’s proven record of phone technology. Fabulous sound through two front facing speakers. Made from a solid piece of aluminium. At around £479 to buy.


The cannon EOS 700d might be the present you are seeking from Father Christmas, get the professional shots you have always wanted. 18 Megapixel sensor and great build quality; this puppy will set you around £750 to buy.
Samsung have their NX300 out as well to compete and being Samsung the name is there as far as technology is concerned. It has a 20.3 Megapixel sensor and talks to all other Samsung devices. It will take around £600 out of your Christmas savings account.

Apple again

Apple MacBook Air is still popular, the 2013 edition. Only a small upgrade to previous versions but still maybe on your Christmas list if you are and avid Apple follower. Apple never does anything by half so this baby will cost you around £849 to buy.


A large new TV, which would be a great Christmas present. Samsung again with their Samsung UE46F8000ST, 35mm thick with e tiny 5mm surround bezel has to be a great pick. Image quality is meant to be one of the best from an LED TV. And it includes all the gesture recognition that is coming in. Basically a computer on board containing Quad cores……This screen will steal around £1800 from your savings.
Panasonic have their TX-P60ZT65, which is rumoured to be the best HD TV out there with extremely fine picture detail. Smart with Internet options and also acts as a media streamer. However the elves will raid your bank account to the tune of around £3650.

To finish our Teaser list…..

How about a JL Built-in Wine Cooler, this small cabinet fits in the smallest of spaces in a kitchen and chills the wine, 7 bottles, and is very quiet with a noise count of only 36dB. Doesn’t frost up either it seem? This will cost your around £180, so not such a sting on those savings this time.

Well, have a great Christmas and a fabulous new year and let me know below what your gadget for Christmas would-be this year.

IT Tech Point

More Nexus-5 News!

Nexus-5We haven’t managed to get our hands on a new Nexus 5 here at IT Tech Point yet so we are always interested in what others are saying and are constantly reading reviews.

We thought we would just give you a quick link to a review by the Guardian Newspaper so you can wet your lips on what they are saying about it. They did give it 5 out of 5 at the end.

We hope to have our hands on one soon, unless our friends at Google want to send one for us to test drive like we did with the nexus tablets before we bought the new one.

Anyhow, here is the link to the article, feast your eyes and your brains and let us know what you think.

Regards, IT Tech Point

Why the Nexus range, and do phone users even care?

nexus 7 2013

New Nexus 7 2013

I am, as you probably know by this time, into all things tech (with some exceptions) and have been over the last few years been into the smart phone market. Now, when I rummage around and find one of my old Nokia phones, I really wonder how I managed to survive with it. The smart phone market has revolutionised our opinion of what a phone should do, and in fact the phone element of any device seems the part least spoken about.

I have tried a number of smart phones over the years, and have drawn my own conclusions as to which ones are doing what I need then to do, while potentially taking the whole smart phone market further. I am always looking at what we have now, and what we could have in a very short period of time.  Apple, as everyone now knows, got this whole snowball rolling and changed the perception of the mobile phone market. Then they launched the first successful tablet computer, not the first though, as Microsoft had tried the idea years earlier – but the market place was not ready for them back in the late 90’s, and they did not take off.

The Battle was on!

After the launch of the first iPhone, the battle for control of the smart phone market was now on.  Apple had stolen the early lead with the touch screen phone and tablet market, wrestling market share from Nokia and it’s aging Symbian system. Other phone manufacturers could only try and catch up, some with more success than others.

Today, Nokia mobile are no more – the technology now owned by Microsoft who are using it to drive the Windows platform forward. Motorola Mobile are now owned by Google, a purchase that solidified the patent armoury most corporations have these days. Blackberry did not react fast enough, at time of writing they company is currently facing being sold off to various bidders (including names like Lenovo) in various packages.

The challengers

After their initial domination of the market, Apple began to face a challenge; Google acquired a company called Android, Inc (who unsurprisingly produced the Android operating system) and then got various manufacturers to buy into using Android for smart phone device and tablets – with these manufacturers they formed the Open Handset Alliance in order to further Android sortware and corresponding hardware. It had suddenly stopped being a one horse race, and Apple now had serious competition for their smart phones and tablets.

Through development of Android, Google has continued to push the boundaries of what can be done, and more and more manufacturers have joined the OHA. Apple has stuck to their tactics of premium prices and quality build, backed by a locked down operating system that is partially customisable.  The story again, at time of writing, is that there are more Android devices switched on per day than Apple and all other phone operating systems combined.

In an attempt to aim for a premium phone experience, Google have created a range of devices branded Nexus. Hand chosen manufacturers have been asked to build these, and Google work closely with them on the software and hardware designs. The final products run a vanilla build of Android, and are pushed updates instantly as they are released.

This was partially in response to the problem Google encountered with other Android device manufacturers (such as HTC , Samsung etc.) would take the raw Android operating system, and then skin it with their own logos and interfaces in order to brand it as their device. While this allowed these manufacturers to make their phones unique from their competitors, it did mean the end user was at the mercy of the OEM for their Android updates, and many handsets are still several versions of Android behind, despite being less than a year old.

The Nexus Range

The latest incarnations of the Nexus range are the Nexus 5 phone (launched November 2013), and the Nexus 7 tablet (launched July 2013). There is also the Nexus 10 tablet (launched November 2012), but a new one is due to be launched imminently.

The benefits of a Nexus tablet or phone are the instant Android updates, and the fact that it all works with the hardware flawlessly. The devices all synchronise via the cloud, so data transfers seamlessly between them to allow mobile working at its best.

We test drove the Nexus 7 2012 version, and the Nexus 7 2013 version on this very blog – check them out and see what our thoughts and findings were.

So what do the public think?

Does any of this behind the scenes work affect what the public think about their next phone? I think for the majority it probably doesn’t, and it’s the next clever advert that may sell them their next phone. But for anyone who is, dare I say it, slightly geeky and interested in where their phone has come from – and, perhaps even more importantly, interested in where their phone might be going,  this info might just sway their opinion.

What is your take on mobile development and where it might be going?

Thanks to Graham Thomson for his input into this article.

Why is Minecraft so popular?


Welcome to our Guest Blogger for this article, Chris Hinton of and Chris Hinton IT.

I want to admit something – I’m approaching 35 years old and… I play Minecraft. I know, I know… I just tried it one day to see what the fuss was, and one mining session led to another and, before I knew what I was doing, I was hooked.

I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of Minecraft but, just in case, here’s the deal. The game takes place in a world of low resolution blocks (or voxels). You spend your time mining for stone, metals, or just plain old dirt and, when you’ve done some mining, you make things from the materials you’ve found. There are elements of danger, like the monsters that spawn in the dark, and you need to consider your food needs by farming animals, plants, or chopping down trees and hoping you find some apples. In a nutshell, though, Minecraft is all about mining and crafting. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

The thing is it’s an incredibly popular game and I sometimes wonder why. Even while I’m playing it, I find myself thinking, “What am I doing? Why do I keep coming back to this?” Well, believe it or not, I think Minecraft taps into something at the heart of being human: the desire to create.

Think for a minute of a child who’s just produced a drawing – the air of excitement as they come to you and say, “Look daddy! Look what I did!” We still have a castle made out of a cardboard box that my daughter won’t let me throw out, even though it’s a couple of years old and definitely looking past its best. Why can’t we get rid of it? “Because I made it”, is the reply.

From pretty early on in life, we want to exercise our imagination and creativity. I think that’s why a big bucket of LEGO is a great way to pass an afternoon (and, yes, I still play with LEGO too). The chance to just sit down and create something is both great fun and very satisfying.

Coming back to Minecraft… it’s like a virtual LEGO bucket. There’s pretty much no limit to the structures you can create and you don’t have to go to the bother of extending the garage to accommodate particularly large models.

So far so good, but my Minecraft playing eventually tailed off until I decided to have a look at a multiplayer server (I play on Sublimity Gaming). Suddenly I got to see what other people had built, got ideas of what I could do, and got to build with other people. It kind of spurred me on to build bigger and better things as other people’s creativity informed my own.

It was about this time I started to encounter Redstone – an electrical conductor from Minecraft that can be used to build some pretty complex circuits. Redstone can be used to automate functions in the game, build dynamic mazes, and even some very complex multiplayer dungeons. I haven’t really got into building Redstone circuits but some of the players I’ve spoken to have build some amazing contraptions. And they’re proud of what they’ve created.

Interestingly, I’ve also spoken to the son of a family friend who is learning circuit design through experimenting with Redstone. He’s coming out with concepts and ideas that I didn’t engage with seriously until university, and he’s only just gone to High School. I’m not about to pretend that Minecraft is an educational tool, but it’s interesting to see that it is bringing some real benefits!

The creative desire spills over into other areas of life outside of play, of course. Have you ever tried baking a cake and just been so proud of the result? Or perhaps you’ve repainted the house and, on top of the fact that the house now looks nicer, proudly thought, “I did that”. Perhaps you’re an honest to goodness artist – in which case creativity is your lifeblood.

My main line of work is as a freelance IT consultant, and I love it when I get the chance to be creative. Whether it’s building a mobile phone app, designing a website, or writing an IT department’s newsletter, I relish the opportunity to make stuff. And I’ll freely admit that I’m the sort of person who looks at the result and says, “I made that”.

This post isn’t intended as an advert for Minecraft – some people will love it and some will think it’s a complete waste of time. But this is the result of me thinking about why it’s such a popular game. My answer? I think it gives people the opportunity to create, and that desire is built in to each and every one of us.

What do you think?

Chris Hinton is a freelance IT Consultant from Fife, Scotland. He is married with two young children, and writes at

Flexible screens, a touch of the future?


The rumours and sneak previews of flexible screens by Samsung and other manufacturers has caught our eye and intrigued is. So here we are going to give you some gleaned info from the net.
But first let us ask you a question. What usage would you see flexible screens having and would they be better than what we have just now?
We picked our brains and thought of some of the following: –

Wrist devices.
Jackets or waist coats.
Wall mounted devices that follow the contours of the wall.
But what else?

Anyhow, onto what we have gleaned from the web.
We have viewed over the last 8 to 10 months the videos that have been going around demoing the flexible screen, or OLED manufacture. This new revolution has made manufacturers like Samsung go into overdrive with concept devices and then create videos demoing what they might look like. Here is one we have seen a few times and gets you thinking.

Samsung showed this at their CES talk this year. A brief potential view of where this technology maybe taking us. Again it will be down to the patent race and who gets the patents in first. Watch this space.
This next video shows the durability of the new screen technology, WARNING it does hurt to watch the screens we love today being pounded by a hammer…..

Ouch, that’s just not nice. But what about the OLED screen, durability at its core, flexible and will take abuse. There is definitely a market for that.
How about a touch window in your house. You get up in the morning and draw the curtains and the blinds are built into the window. Then you call up all sorts of touch screen info about weather and driving conditions etc. You are kidding me Ian surely I hear you cry….Well no.

Isn’t that amazing? Come on, it had you excited…..
So it looks like we will be able to wear the flexible units with Samsung already having launched their wrist device that is curved. We will also be able to drop then of a building by the look of it and then our houses will be equipped with the latest tech and info.
I just can’t wait!
Samsung are not the only manufacturer by the way, it is just they are at this time shouting the loudest about it with videos and promotions.

What are your thoughts on all this new Flexible screens and tech, does it excite you or bore you?

Ian Thomson
IT Turning Point


There’s an App for that………

appsThe phrase that Apple have made famous by their Apple store advertising. We all expect an App for almost anything we want to do. We are getting so used to doing things on the hop now that everything is mobile. Smart phones for smarter working.

We thought we would look at the current race for having the most Apps available for users. The race is between the three main players, even though there are really, at this stage, only two, Apple and Android. Microsoft and Blackberry (RIM) are around but playing catch-up in this volatile market place.

Here are the latest stats at time of writing this article.

Apple store                                                        775,000+ apps available

Android Market Place                                        667,647+ apps available

Microsoft Store                                                  150,000+  apps available

The obvious question is, do we need all these apps and if so how did we ever perform without them. Now remember I am a self-confessed geek and use a good number of apps and technology that I never used in the past and find them to be some of the most useful kit I have and now rely on them, probably too much. That feeling of when your phone decides to not work, being the equivalent of your right arm being cut off. So I am not anti apps and new ways of doing things.

Apps tie you in

I have also found that apps tie people in, so there is another reason to be on the front foot when producing them. I told a friend of mine that they should try an Android based phone and see what they thought and they said that they couldn’t as they had spent so much money at the Apple store on Apps and other Apple related stuff that they would be losing out on a lot of money they had spent. So there is motive in the madness of App production.

Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the Apps race? Do you over rely on them or do you think there is an app that would be great and nobody has produced it yet. Or are you just an Angry Birds gamer and like all the gaming that can happen in the mobile arena.

Whatever your take, this is a race worth watching and we certainly will be keeping our eye on what is happening in this area. Follow our blog and we will keep you up to date on all things techie.

Ian Thomson