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iPad Mini Lets Apple Take a Bite Out of the Competition

Yesterday was the day that all Apple fans and tech fans had been waiting for, Apple were finally going to let us into the “mini” secret that everybody knew about. Along with the release of the next generation iPad using the A6 chip they showed us the iPad Mini. Basically a 7.9-inch version of the iPad itself it promises to be able to do everything the bigger model does, and be a better mini tablet than any other on the market.

Of course this is quite a major claim and there is a lot to prove. When people can buy the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD at budget prices and offer excellent performance, can the iPad simply come in and steal all the market from them? This is debatable, even if Apple believes they can but the fact is this is one hell of a tablet that Apple fans will love, and people looking for their first tablet, even in mini form will really have their eyes set on.

 

Build

Quite simply in line with most of Apple’s new announced technology (new iMac, another Mac Book Pro, new iPad) everything about the iPad mini is thinner and lighter. The big difference with this variation of course is that it’s smaller. The good news is though this is basically a downscaled version of the iPad in screen size only (which of course has an impact on resolution and image quality). But at 7.9-inches, 7.2mm thinness and 308g weight (for the Wi-Fi only model) this is a nice, light tablet that can fit in your hand quite easily. Volume and screen-rotation lock buttons have moved to the right-hand side of the unit and headphone socket is on the top of the tablet now rather than at the bottom. It should also be noted (though it was already known) the iPad mini charges with the lightening connector.

Screen

The most important change with the size is the much talked about 7.9-inch screen. This is capable of a 1024 x 768 resolution with 163ppi. This means that as expected with Apple’s quality products the screen is bright and vibrant with the text as sharp as ever and colours are vivid. Videos look good on it and web pages are easy to read, if anything this may be a more mobile version than the bigger iPad that is harder to use at times with the need for two hands at all times.

Camera

The rear camera is a 5MP iSight camera which works as good as the one on the bigger version of the iPad so pictures can be taken with the same quality, though the image on the screen of course won’t be as good as the retina display quality. They will still look good though. A front camera is of course included for the all-important Face Time features.

Performance
The chip inside the iPad mini is an A5 processor which is fast and should be able to power all the apps and multimedia you can throw at it. It was a disappointment in a way that Apple showed off the latest iPad with the A6 processor and promised double the speed and excellent performance, yet did not include this processor in the mini version. This of course maybe down to the limitations of the mini itself or just down to the fact that both the new iPad and iPad mini were in development at the same time and decisions had to be made on stable chips to work on to get the mini released on time. This of course is just conjecture but it’s still interesting to think about.

Verdict

Apple tout their claimed “10-hours battery life” and pushed it for all it was worth in the speech, but this is something that will have to be proven in real life usage. This claim has been known not to hold up with the processor intensive applications that the iPad uses so it will be interesting to see just how long the iPad Mini batter will last with some real use. Anything close to the stated time will of course be welcome and as long as it lasts a day’s use there should be little issue here.

The iPad mini is an excellent tablet that can now fit in your hand, it has huge potential for not only Apple fans but people who can’t afford the full priced iPad, or are even looking for something a little smaller. Apple’s problem though will be the way they move to try destroy the competition against them, sometimes with claims that may or may not be actual fact. It’s easy to bend facts and point out frailties of other products to try and sell their latest products, but this lack of tact may not in fact get them far.

Apple will always have their fans but with the price scene (£269/$329 for the cheapest models) they are looking at a price tha is up to £100 (in the UK) more expensive than their competitors. Yes, the cost may be worth it but people will still take a look at the competition and see a device that can compete and can do so at a cheaper price. It will be interesting to see just how dominant the iPad Mini will be when it’s released in the coming weeks.

LG 84LM960V Yet Another 4K Resolution Television Giving a Look into the Future

Technology is moving forward, especially in the visual world. In both homes and in the cinema we are seeing new technologies being used to try to improve the way we see things, like for example The Hobbit being played in some cinemas in 3D HFR which runs at 48 frames per second. Whether this was an improvement is up for debate, especially by critics, but this is not the only improvement being made. Lawrence of Arabia was recent digitally re-mastered and what made this special was it was done in 4k.

This increase in resolution is a technology that is also making its way into the television market with an eye at improving the image quality at home, but this comes at a cost. With the screens being 50-inch or above to use this kind of resolution the televisions take up space. The fact is though when there will be sources available that can take the so called 4K ultra high definition picture quality it will be worth it, but right now it’s for people who can afford to pay for it. The LG 84LM960V is one of these televisions, and at 84-inch in size this is a television that will take up a lot of space no matter where it is put.

 

Build
There is no doubt that the 84LM960V looks good, with its metal and glass design it’s not the lightest of televisions and at the size it’s not going to be one you’ll be looking to move once it’s placed. The monster though is quite thin at 25mm. It looks beautiful and has quite a futuristic finish, of course the most important question is will the image quality that it can provide at the moment actually live up to its looks.

Features

Other than the much touted 4K ability that will of course make it stand out, and the sheer size of the television the rest of the features are pretty standard for the modern high definition television. The television can be connected to the internet and has a Smart TV portal which offers connection to services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube as well as network streaming. The television is also 3D which is almost standard nowadays.

The connections to the television include four HDMI connections, three USB, PC and Ethernet. The network can also be connected to by Wi-Fi so there are no worries about the need for Ethernet cables connecting to your router. The television also comes with two remote controls which are a normal LG remote plus a Magic Remote wand for internet use and gaming.

Image Quality

The best quality the 84LM960V will provide is of course through the use of 4K resolution source, which is not available to homes at this time. This is bound to change though as the resolution becomes more mainstream and ready for widespread distribution. With Sony rumoured to be making the Playstation 4 compatible with 4K this shows there is already a move to provide the support, but it will come in time. With a television like this the results will be amazing.

For now, the average user will have to put up with the upscaling that the television does, full HD sources are upscaled to 3840 x 2160 so Blu-rays for example will look very good, not up to the 4k standard of course but still way above normal quality. The 3D performance is also above standard using passing FPR technology and making use of the upscaling too.

Verdict

The hardest thing to get past is what you have to pay to get a television like this. At around £22,500/$36,621 this is something that only the very rich would be looking to buy. The fact that there are no real 4K sources yet is something that will hold it back too though. When 4K sources are more widely available and the technology becomes cheaper this is one of the televisions that will be looked to as a way of making use of the new resolution. With sources that are readily available today such as Blu-rays and 3D the LG 84LM960V is a very good choice, but so are the other highly priced televisions that offer similar quality (for example the Sony KD-84X9005). Televisions like these are a look to the future, and with this type of quality the future is looking very good indeed.

Linn Kiko a Premium Sound System with Superior Sound

There are plenty of speaker systems out at the moment that offer good sound plenty of options for connections from Bluetooth to Apple’s AirPlay and all come at a nice enough price. These focus mostly on having variety and the streaming, and arguably save money in the audio department where though the sound can be above average, to get the best you have to pay a little more money.

The Linn Kiko is a sound system that looks more to the high end of the price scale and concentrates on the audio aspect and the looks of the system which some would argue is just as important. When these systems are made to fit into your living room you need it to look good, and the Linn Kiko definitely fits that bill.

Build
The Kiko sound system is a high end model in not only sound but also looks. With its elegant and fashionable look, with curves in all the right places you should find no problem in fitting this into your living room if this is the placing of choice. Colours available are silver, champagne, blue (dark and light), white and black so there is plenty of choices to fit your personal needs. One drawback (or could be a positive based on your needs for the system) is there are very little controls visible at all, no high tech touchscreen here. Just a blue LED display and power switch, it’s a minimalistic look to fit the design. For most of the functionality you’ll need your computer, smartphone or tablet though there are a few controls available for skipping songs etc. on a remote that is provided.

Features

The main aim of the Kiki is to be able to play your music easily and quickly without having to spend too long installing anything. This is done through your network, so it’s easy to connect to things like AirPlay, internet radio services and music apps like Spotify. Software is provided by Linn (Kinsky software) this allows connection through tablets, smartphone and your computer. One of the surprising things though is there is no wireless internet for the Kiko, it will have to be wired up to your router by an Ethernet cable. This is quite against the minimalist design in a way. What this does though is improves sound quality and connection speed as you’ll have no problems that Wi-fi can sometimes have.

Connections
As well as the connection to your router to connect to your network there are also HDMI ports available as well as phono audio and coaxial digital inputs. This means that you can connect the sound system up to your television and Blu-ray player to use the Kiko’s audio system for output. The one problem with the Kiko as hinted above is that there are going to be wires coming out of the system, the speakers for example have quite a thick wire going to each. Part of getting the look of the Kiko right for your home will obviously be finding a place to hide these wires. Once they are hidden of course they won’t cause many problems at all.

Audio Quality
For an expensive audio system like this you’ll be expecting high end sound and that’s what you’ll get with the Linn Kiko. For a system that uses speakers that are quite small the small amplified drives pack plenty of punch and show why the Kiko is such a special system. Ranging from the quiet listening experience to the loud there is still plenty of punch and high quality sound that shows where your money went.

Verdict
The big problem you’ll have with the Linn Kiko is finding the excuse to spend £2,500($4,048) on it, but for a premium audio system it’s definitely worth it. The drawback of having to use the Ethernet connection to connect to your router and the internet is a drawback but once the system is up and running and you hear the sound quality it makes it worth it.

Yearbook Ideas to Make Your High School Yearbook a Success

Are you working on a yearbook? If you are doing some of the planning for high school yearbooks, it can often be difficult to come up with good yearbook ideas. There is quite a bit of work that goes into making a great yearbook, but with the right yearbook ideas, it can be much easier. Read on for some tips that you may be able to incorporate into a high school yearbook or other yearbook project. Use Contrast When you design a page layout, use strong contrast to differentiate one section from another. Don’t group items that look similar unless you want a section of similar items noticeably together. Making different sections stand out in very obvious ways helps each individual element hold visual interest. Items that are supposed to be similar can have a common thread or theme, but make sure that when you are grouping different club or team pictures on one page they stand out from one another. Repeat Themes Try to choose one overriding theme for the yearbook, and repeat elements of that theme as you move through your design. Yearbook ideas should come through on more than just one page to help the book seem cohesive. Choosing a theme for your yearbook is often the first project in a high school yearbooks class-you try to find areas within the yearbook where that theme can be repeated in a stylish and interesting way.

Align Your Yearbook Page Items As you lay out pictures and quotes to go in the pages of your high school yearbook, make sure that everything aligns well with the other objects on the page. Never allow one picture, mascot or quote to be set apart from the page as a whole. Items that aren’t aligned with the rest of the page will seem awkward and out of place, and might ruin otherwise great yearbook ideas.

BLESSED BE THE MOTHER – #ENDFAMILYSEPARATION

A poem in response to families separated at the Texas/Mexico border, separated on indigenous land, separated by walls, and separated by unjust travel bans.

**

On holy land, between a mesquite shrub
and a Mexican willow whose purple buds bow
in adoration, a mother sets out on a pilgrimage,
un peregrinaje en el camino de una santa tierra.

She carries her child on her hip
like women have always carried this world,
ganchado – between the sacred bosom of life
and the warrior thigh that crushes the serpent.

Her talones kick up dirt, a holy danza amid
a swirling, languid breeze on land
which has been stolen from her.

Chin held high, wings spread wide,
she is the resistance.

She knows what awaits her arrival
at the border el diablo anda suelto,
ready to rip the world from her hips,
but she knows where to hide the medicine,

tucked beneath her hijitas wings.

Cucurrucucú paloma
Cucurrucucú no llores

As hijitos and hijitas sit in manmade cages,
detentions they will call them, their wings carry
los antepasados like rayos de luz within.

And when the cage gets lonely, los antepasados
remind los hijitas and hijitos of the land they stand on.

And they will hear

Cucurrucucú paloma
Cucurrucucú no llores

A mother’s pilgrimage never ends.

She journeys the many separations
she’s endured since giving birth to the world.

On holy land, between a tent city in Tornillo
and the lurking eyes of government institutions,

she prays her rosary, beads she must recall by faith
since their confiscation at port of entry.

She remembers the medicine she hid in the wings
of her hijitos and hijitas. She sings to herself

Cucurrucucú paloma
Cucurrucucú no llores

Blessed be the mother who spreads her wings in resistance.
Blessed be the mother who reclaims her land.

Blessed be the mother who meets the devil nose to nose
until her hijitas and hijitos are returned to her.

On holy land, between a mesquite shrub
and a Mexican willow whose purple buds bow

in adoration, a mother sets out on a pilgrimage,
un peregrinaje en el camino de una santa tierra.

Bendita sea la madre quien espera el mundo
que regrese a sus manos otra vez.

**
Cucurrucucú Paloma is a cuauhpanco song, a Mexican folk song originally written by Tomás Méndez in 1954. Thereafter, it was made iconic by Lola Beltrán and Pedro Infante. Cuauhpanco is Nahuatl word meaning, “on top of wood,” which signified where the song was danced. After colonization, it was converted into the word huapango and is more widely used.

This poem was originally performed by me at San Antonio Mennonite Church for First Friday on the Lawn on July 6, 2018. The portion of the poem which contains the music lyrics was sung by Daisy Loren, a fourteen-year-old singer from the west side of San Antonio, Texas.

Side note: I am not fluent in Mayan languages. I am also not fluent in Arabic, therefore, those words are not found in the poem. I hope to one day incorporate that to more fully represent the injustices carried on by the American government.

God bless our mother(s).