Review: Status Audio HD One Headphones

Manufacturer: Status Audio | Year: 2013 | MSRP: $49 | Buy from Amazon

statusaudioUntil now, I’ve never owned a pair of headphones. I’ve always been content with using the Apple earbuds/pods that come with Apple devices, but when I saw a good deal on these Status Audio headphones, I thought I’d give them a try. I’ve now been using my Classic HD Ones to listen to music, play video games, and watch YouTube videos for the past month and I feel I can give them an honest review and tell you whether or not you should buy them.
Continue reading

Review: Garmin eTrex 10 GPSr

Manufacturer: Garmin | Year: 2011 | List Price: $119.99 | Buy from Amazon

After finding over 50 geocaches, we started thinking about buying a GPSr to save money on the data that we use when we geocache using the Geocaching Intro iPhone app. One day, one of our family friends came over to our house and surprised us with a Garmin eTrex 10.

The Garmin eTrex 10 the base model of the eTrex series. It has a transflective monochrome display and 25 hours of battery life. It is durable, rugged, and waterproof to IPX7 standards. It supports paperless geocaching and holds up to 1000 waypoints. The eTrex 10’s high sensitivity receiver makes use of a WAAS enabled GPS receiver with Hotfix and GLONASS support. It features a sun and moon calendar, hunting and fishing information, area calculation, and other stuff you’d expect from an outdoor GPSr.

I think the Garmin eTrex 10 is an easy-to-use and affordable GPSr. The readings are dead on, making it ideal of Geocaching. The interface is simple and intuitive without sacrificing functionality. The monochrome display is as good as black and white screens get. The only complaint I have is the map. It lacks important information such as certain land masses. For example, the entire country of Singapore doesn’t exist on the basemap. The map is also missing roads, small bodies of water, and certain cities. The only landmarks you’ll find on these maps are your waypoints, borders, country names, and a selection of cities. Other than that, the eTrex 10 is an awesome GPS for outdoor use.

Visit their Website

List Price: $119.99 | Buy from Amazon

Innovation: Raspberry Pi

Manufacturer: Raspberry Pi | Year: 2012 | MSRP: $31.49 | Buy from Amazon

Back in the days before GUI’s, to do anything useful with a computer required at least a basic understanding of electronics and computer science. But now, because it’s become so easy to operate a computer, most people who use a computer don’t really know how it works (me definitly included).

One person who decided to do something about it was Eben Upton, who worked in admissions and as a lecturer at Cambridge. He noticed that applicants to the Computer Science courses just weren’t as experienced with computers as they were in the 90’s. He and his colleagues discovered that it was mostly because schools now taught computers using Word, PowerPoint, and other software that doesn’t teach how a computer works, merely what you can do with one.

So he and his colleages set to work trying to make a simple, affordable computer that would teach kids (and pretty much anyone else) the concepts behind electronics and computers. It’s made so that you can’t do much until you get your feet wet and start to program. You can use Python, C, Basic, etc. on it, and you not only learn the programming language, you also get a better understanding how what you type translates into the output on the screen. Also, as mentioned before, is you want to do something like word processing, you’ll have to make a word processing program, so you get a feel for how useful programming can be.

But perhaps the best part about the Raspberry Pi is its price. The top-of-the-range model is a princely $35, and the simpler model is $25. It was meant to be affordable, and it certainly is! Even if you have to buy an SD card and a HDMI or RCA cable, the price probably won’t go over $50. Other things you would need are a keyboard, mouse, and TV, since the Raspberry Pi is pretty much just a circuit board.

The Raspberry Pi will be available in about a week’s time from the organisation’s website, and I recommend giving their site a visit. You can ask a question on the FAQ page, provided it’s hasn’t already been asked and answered. They are really quick; I got an answer in just 40 minutes. Also on the site is a forum, a wiki, and lots of information on what you can do with a Raspberry Pi and its tech specs. There’s also a picture showing what it looks like and what each part does.

UPDATE 14 November 2014: I actually ended up getting the Pi (Model B) about a year or so back. It’s super cool, but I’m not really smart enough to do anything creative with it. I sort of use it to mess around with, so I don’t wreck anything important on any other computer in the house.

Also, the Model B+ replaced the Model B a while back. You can see what they changed about it here.

MSRP: $31.49 | Buy from Amazon

Do you think you’ll get the Raspberry Pi? What do you think about it? Tell us in the comments.

Task: Learn Java

Learning how to program is often a daunting idea. To learn by oneself would require lots of dedication, and to take a course would cost too much. But with Stanford University’s CS106A iTunes U course, it’s now quite possible to take a full Java course for free online, teacher and all.

The video lectures are great: Mehran Sahami, the professor, is very engaging. There are assignments, handouts, and even a syllabus (if you like to be really organised) online. The software is provided free. You will need a textbook which, though Prof. Sahami says needs to be bought, can be found online also. Though Stanford does not have answer keys to the Assignments, a simple Google Search for ‘CS106A answers’ will pull up a list of blogs that each have their own solutions to the problems. At the beginning, Prof. Sahami says that you don’t need any experience to start learning with CS106A, and he does start at Ground Zero, but he does burn through the subjects pretty fast, so if (like me) you have no previous experience, you’ll likely have to re-watch some of the faster paced lectures and read the textbook extremely attentively. Speaking of the textbook, it’s a good idea to follow along with the lectures with the textbook. I managed to finish Assignments 1 and 2 without the textbook, only to find myself completely confounded by Assignment 3.

But you guys are here to see the links, so without further ado:

CS106A Course Page
Karel the Robot Textbook
The Art and Science of Java Textbook 

We hope you have fun learning Java. Please comment if you have any questions about the links or the course. I’ll try to answer any others, but I don’t know much about programming, so any programming questions would be better asked elsewhere!

Tutorial: Quit All Applications and Log Out Application

With Mac OS X Lion, having to click the check box every time you want to quit all applications when you log out can be a real pain. This set of instructions will show you how to make a Mac application using Automator to quit all your open applications and log out in a simple double-click.

You will need:

  • Automator (Version 2.2.1)
  1. Open Automator
  2. Select “Application” and click “Choose”
  3. Find “Quit All Applications” in the Library and drag it into the workflow
  4. Find “Run Applescript” in the Library and drag it into the workflow after “Quit All Applications”
  5. Clear the default text and copy and paste the following into the text area:
    tell application "System Events"
    log out
    end tell
  6. Click “Options” and select “Ignore this action’s input” for both actions
  7. Click “File” and “Save…” and save to application to your desktop (or other desired location)
If you would like to assign the same icon shown on the logout window to your new application follow the following instructions:
  1. Find “GenericHome.png” (Macintosh HD/System/Library/CoreServices/SecurityAgentPlugins/HomeDirMechanism.bundle/Contents/Resources)
  2. Download and install Pixadex version 2.0.2 by Panic / Iconfactory (Click Here to Download)
  3. Open Pixadex and drag “GenericHome.png” into “My Icons”
  4. Right-click the icon, mouse over “Export” and click “Icon…”
  5. Save to desired location
  6. Right-click your new application and click “Get Info”
  7. Drag the “GenericHome” icon into the thumbnail icon in the top left corner of the Info window
Did you find this article helpful? Leave us a comment.