DESTEK V3 Virtual Reality VR Headset

DESTEK V3 Virtual Reality VR Headset

VR (Virtual Reality) is definitely on the horizon and one of the ‘next big things’ in the world of interactive entertainment and educational technologies. From exploring terrains or areas that learners would not be exposed to or the mountain of risk assessment alone making it impossible can suddenly transport your learners from differing perspectives such as helicopter rides over London to distant lands and the rim of a live volcano and onto an on-stage presence at gig or musical. Coupled with an immersive audio experience is one hell of a ride! but i shudder at this future and fear for the learners that will feel my pain – literally!

So why the negativity? well a fact about me, I get physically sick when playing 3D games! Now this may seem daft, especially teaching (albeit in the recent past) game 3d engines. But I have never been able to get beyond it, this is a huge concern to the likes of the military that whilst saving a fortune by having their personnel train in VR environments there are those that still need the real thing due to suffering debilitating nausea. Something like 1% feels any ill affects withe 0.1% of those having physical reactions -its worthy of research to further make savings. I for one would welcome any solution (even in part). I am rarely able to play more than say 30 minutes before feeling queasy – often physically ill, and recovering for over 6 hrs+. To just be able to play Minecraft with my little boy would makehis day, and not have him feel guilty when I do play and have to stop due to illness. But there are other worse than me, even being set off by waterways and supermarkets (I kid you not – read the art5icle on the BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-38715719 )

So despite all the ill-feeling I splashed out on a reasonably priced  DESTEK V3 Virtual Reality VR Headset, it fits my iPhone 6 Plus (without case), is well constructed and has the Magnetic switch (a must in my opinion s  for low end, low cost VR goggles). Fantastic device, if a little uncomfortable at the bridge of the nose it has allowed me(and my six year old) to go ‘wow’ at VR. Don’t get me wrong VR is still in early days (we dare not mention the flash in the pan 3D TV) but for sub £30 its a worthy expense. Yes it makes me sick but to have a ‘go’ at VR that is although not matured is not exactly fledgling either and the price tag certainly does not make my blood boil when i suffer from ‘curiosity killed the cat’, here’s hoping that the earlier link bears some useful findings to support those like me.

So linking back to the educational aspect and all I hear about the fact that VR will play a part, well I am already seeing that I will be those in the minority and hope that ‘differentiation’ will be considered when there are not an insignificant amount of learners (and educationalists) that will break out in a cold sweat at the very thought of VR in an educational programme – beneficial or not! (there may be a surge in travel sickness remedies!)

Note: VR should not be something that you expose those under seven for any length of time!

Bag o’ Tech

portable gadgets

A number of weeks ago I was challenged to write a post about the tech I carry around with me, so here it is in order of least used to most…

Ultra book: This is only a work horse from work and the only thing going for it is that it is light. It’s more a necessity due to travelling around a lot and needing to access work related systems. It’s often dead the next day so it’s charger is always in tow.

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard: my go to kit when I need to write up a report quickly on my iPad or iPhone. It does not get used enough, it’s a great piece of kit, often I use the keyboard of the iPad.

USB to Lightening Adapter: an indulgence for connecting a USB microphone to the iPad or iPhone.

Lightening Charge Cable: for the iOS devices

Presentation Pointer: for when you have to give presentations but don’t want to be tethered to the front of the room

 

Now onto my must haves!

Samson Go Mic: A fantastic mic that is used regularly to add audio commentary to presentations to support learners with their online sessions.

Headphones: A pair of wired headphones for when I am recording audio on the go with the aforementioned mic.

iPad: my mainstay bit of kit, quick, light, versatile. Reports and emails in the main.

iPhone 6 Plus: need I say anything? My backup when the iPad dies. Messaging and audio in the most part.

Apple Watch: yes a new addition, the pebble has been relegated for DIY so as not to damage my Apple Watch.

Betron HD1000 Headphones

IMG_0881IMG_0882

I have reviewed Betron headphones in the past, three varieties of earbud, each of them performing really well and living up to a lot of their hype. In fact the Betron B850i’s (http://wp.me/pspi8-tC) are actually my preferred replacement headphones for my Apple earbuds. Recently I received in the post the Betron HD100 Headphones to review and I have to say these are a pretty awesome pair of headphones. According to Betron the following specifications exist:

  • Powerful neodymium magnets for stereo sound with powerful punchy bass
  • Extended frequency response for accurate, reliable sound reproduction
  • Increased sound pressure level (110dB) to handle demanding use
  • Rich, crisp bass response
  • Good attenuation of ambient noise
  • Lightweight & comfortable
  • Powerful sound reproduction
  • Optimised for portable audio including MP3, CD players, iPad, iPod, iPhone and mobile phones (iPad, iPhone and iPod are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.)

Claiming to have a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity as well as lightweight and durable and comfortable whilst speaker build material dissipates heat and minimises sound leakage these headphones with a RRP of £79 that are currently selling on Amazon for £29 have a lot to live up to. (Current details from http://www.betronstore.co.uk)

Firstly I have to say that the packaging is excellent, in the first instance a minimal black box with ‘Betron’ and the model number ‘HD1000’ on the top I’m white lettering with a few specs that are outlined below on the side:

  • Driver Unit:  40mm
  • Impedance: 32ohms +- 15%
  • Sensitivity: 108 =-3dB
  • Frequency Response: 20-20Khz
  • Max. Input Power: 100mW
  • Cable Length: 1.7M (I actually found the cable to be 1.8M)

Inside the outer box is a ‘D’ shaped carry case in black nylon with carry handle and double zip that when opened up reveals the headphones sitting in a velvet-like interior that is shaped to hold the headphones snug.  Betron was off to a good start, especially as I only ever got a thin drawstring nylon bag with my SkullCandy Hesh headphones that I will be comparing these to!

At first sight the headphones look gorgeous and have a classy retro look to them in a  rich brown wood and gold effect styling. Getting to grips with the headphones themselves and the feel of the headphones is one that reveals some highs and lows. On the plus side the 3.5mm gold plug is one where the cable exists from the side of the plug at 45 degrees, with a high quality feel braided cable and gold splitter, offering tangle free cabling. The L/R indicators for each side are discreetly labelled inside the headphones above each earpiece, with a subtle branding on the outside. On the downside is the feeling of materials cheaper than they appear, especially around the area of the headband joining to the earpieces – but let me be clear that this does not mean they are not well build. Betron claim that there are no visible screws which there are none, however there are visible rivets.

As stated earlier Betron claim that the headphones are comfortable, cool and a clarity of sound with a deep rich bass. Upon the first point I can wholeheartedly agree, my current headphones of choice have been Skullcandy Hesh over-the-ear headphones and I have found them heavy and too hot after a prolonged use of anything over thirty minutes and I don’t like the feel of on the ear headphones such as the Skullcandy Lowriders as they are uncomfortable and unlike the Hesh model let in too much surrounding noise ( plus they slip off if you are doing anything beyond sitting still). The HD1000’s are a joy to wear, comfortable, lightweight, they don’t get hot ( and that has been in the recent 30 degree weather) and they reduce ambient noise far more than other on-the-ear headphones.

So onto the all important bit, the audio, and do these headphones live up to the manufacturers claims? Well I listen to a diverse range of audio – including podcasts, audiobooks, radio plays, music and a variety of video and films. I even listen to text to speech conversions when I need to listen to reports and I am travelling between locations (these are not the easiest to listen to) and always willing to allow for others opinions I even asked my wife to try them out, as a fitness professional and having to listen to a wide range of music that requires choreography I though her opinion would be valid ( The wife’s choice of headphone is the Skullcandy Lowriders that I am not a fan of – even less now I have used the HD1000’s). Overall I can report that the quality of the audio is superb with a rich definition to the audio that is not affected by the  increased bass.

The wife definitely stated that the audio was excellent and that the headphones were extremely comfortable in comparison to the Lowriders and I feel that the audio is actually compatible to the Hesh headphones.At the RRP the quality up close lets the headphones down but if you are looking for well priced, comfortable and good quality audio these are great headphones. At £29 they are an absolute steal!

Betron has provided me with this product for purposes of providing a personal review and I have received no payment for this unbiased review.

Omaker – 3.5mm Male to Male Stereo Audio Cable (3.3ft x 2, 6.6ft x 1)

Omaker Audio Cables

Needing replacement audio cable for my car stereo and my headphones I decided to give the Omaker 3 cable bundle a go and have to admit to being pleasantly surprised. Super slim connectors with a real high quality feel to the overall propuct. I cannot see where you vcould get such a quality cable for less than £8 especially for a 3 pack! I found them on Amazon here http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018VVTMGW

Yodo Phone Armband Case

Yodo Mobile Pouch

Having started down the Gym after a long break i needed to update my phone arm pouch, now having the iPhone 6+ I thought this was going to be a nightmare. Thankfully the Yodo Case is perfect and with an added bonus of  an additional pouch for headphones/keys/money. At under £10 I cannot reccomend enough for the larger smartphone. Find on amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00UMTIAEM

Anker PowerLine 6ft Lightning Cable

Anker Lightning Cable

At last I seem to have found a relatively cheap and decent lightning cable, most of the cables I have purchased have lasted a reasonable amount of time but lately the cable are coming away from the plugs themselves (previously Amazon Basics were my go-to cable). So I hunted for a better overall build with Anker again having a product of superior quality, even the feel of the materials stands out once it is out of the box. Purchased for less than £8 at amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013JNAUMW

iPad case Dux by STM

I have tried a number of cases for our iPads and finally settled on the STM dux, black for my Air2 and red for the wife’s mini. There is nothing really for me to say that is not covered in the following video other than the fact that I found the covers over the buttons a little stiff. I found mine on eBay new for less than £30.

 

iPad, Mini’s & iPhone

iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone

 

We have had a bit of a splurge in the household over the last six months with four new apple devices crossing the thresh-hold.

  • iPad Air 2 128gb (Mine)
  • iPad Mini 3 128gb (wife’s)
  • iPad Mini 3 64gb (6yr olds)
  • New Apple Tv 5th Gen 64gb (Mine)
  • iPhone 5 64gb (Wife’s)

With the exception of the Apple TV (more on the Apple TV in a later post) each iPad has been purchased as a refurbished device costing a heck of a lot less than the full price. Initially purchasing my lad one (he was unlikely to have been fussed with the odd dent or scrap, especially once it was in a bumper case) as we did not want to splash out for a Mini 4 but did not want to be limited to a Mini 2 32gb. Settling on a Mini 3 64gb.

We was so impressed with the quality that one for myself and one for the wife quickly followed with an iPhone 5. Admittedly the original iPhone purchased was scratched and dented but this was quickly replaced. I would normally be upgrading my phone in October, although I have no desire to upgrade yet, I will seriously consider a refurb in future.

Pocket App (& Capti Update)

Pocket Logo

 

https://getpocket.com/

Although I am the world worst for looking into new things there are those occasions when bookmarking is a pain (particularly between devices) when I am on the go and the worst aspect is that I simply do not have the time! Enter ‘Pocket’, a simple browser plugin and associated app that I am using with Chrome and my iOS devices that allows me to bookmark and recall wherever I am. The real sweet spot for me when using Pocket is the ability in most cases to Listen (TTS) Text-To-Speech  to the majority of pages I bookmark, meaning that I can listen to those relvant items on the go from my iPhone or iPad.

It doesn’t like PDF’s, but you can always pass them to Capti! [See previous blog post http://wp.me/pspi8-k9 ]

Capti Logo

Capti has seen a recent number of overhauls, not limited to the expansion of other systems it can interact with, originally…

  1. a browser
  2. clipboard
  3. GoogleDrive
  4. Dropbox.
  5. Instapaper
  6. Pocket
  7. Bookshare
  8. A existing document that is sent within your device

it can now interact as well with Gutenberg & OneDrive. More importantly Capti now has a system for bookmarking within a browser( not as nice as a Pocket icon it is a bookmark itself that you drag to your favourites, clikcin on the link will add the current page to your reading list. You can also elect or install Capti’s own software on your desktop or utilise the online system. See https://www.captivoice.com/capti-site/public/entry/download#

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (for podcasting)

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

Although Apple have had a Camera Connection Kit in the past they have not had one included pass-though power that allows for more power hungry devices to work. In the past devices have either not worked or have required all equipment to be all but plugged together with the final connection being the lightning connector to the iPad, often still displaying a warning message.

The USB speed is only supported on the bigger brother iPad Pro and the adapter does not allow pass-through syncing but not only can you use connected cameras to import photos and videos but you can use it with the iPhone 6 as well, allowing you to plug in…

  • USB microphones, such as the Blue Yeti and the Samson Go Mic
  • Midi Interface
  • USB Ethernet adapter
  • Memory Sticks

For me this adapter is great, I can now throw my Samson Go Mic, stand and pop filter in a bag along with a powerpack (Anker are my choice) and I can pretty much record anywhere with my iPhone 6 Plus!