Apple AirPort Express (2012)

August 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

 

Four years in the making Apple’s latest tiny router features integrated AirPlay and AirPrint technology…

Overall score: 8/10

Price as reviewed: £79

Pros
Stylish, minimalist design
Class leading AirPlay Performance
Integrated AirPrint functionality
Intuitive setup

Cons
Mediocre wireless performance & range
No Gigabit Ethernet
No support for USB storage

Key Features: Dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi; Integrated AirPlay & AirPrint; Small, discrete design; Extends wireless signal; Guest connection mode

Introduction
The AirPort Express range has the right to feel unloved. Unlike Apple’s other lines, which are refreshed on a rigid annual schedule, the company’s humble wireless base station had sat unchanged since March 2008. At that time the first generation iPhone was still the current model and now the sixth generation iPhone 5 is just around the corner. The tech world has been revolutionised over this period, so can we expect a similar step forward from the new AirPort Express?

Features
The short answer is no… but it doesn’t need to be. The cogs in the wireless standards industry turn much more slowly than those driving the smartphone revolution so evolution is the name of the game. As such the 2012 AirPort Express still performs the same functions as its ageing forebear: it can work as a wireless router when connected to a modem, extend the range of an existing wireless network, bring AirPlay wireless audio streaming to any stereo or dock and AirPrint wireless printing to any connected printer. Like the 2008 Apple AirPort Express the 2012 model also still doesn’t support external storage.

6107 Apple AirPort Express (2012)

Where the new AirPort Express unit does differ is its support for simultaneous dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi over both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands (the 2008 unit made you choose one or the other). This functionality was added to the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule back in 2009 so it is primarily a catch-up feature. In addition Apple has added a LAN port alongside the existing WAN port, but surprisingly this only operates at 10/100Mbit rather than Gigabit Ethernet which has widely become the industry standard.

Design
So where do the real innovations come from? Apple being Apple means the most obvious step forward is in design. Whereas the 2008 model plugged directly into a socket, in 2012 Apple has repackaged the AirPort Express into the 90 x 90 x 23mm case of the Apple TV. The fact it is white rather than black and 30 grams lighter (240g vs. 270g) helps you tell them apart and you get the benefit of the same premium build quality, but otherwise it is clear Apple has done a little industrial recycling.

That said this move is to be commended… This is a sample, read the full review on TrustedReviews


Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Wired – Inside Intel’s battle to keep Stephen Hawking talking

August 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Media & Copywriting

Over the weekend of 7-8 January I attended Stephen Hawking’s 70th Birthday Symposium held at Cambridge University. I learnt about science, the cosmos and the very human battle waged to keep one of our generation’s most important scientists in contact with the world. Here is my write-up of that battle for Wired UK.

 

Inside Intel’s battle to keep Stephen Hawking talking

11 January 12
Untitled 1 91 Wired   Inside Intels battle to keep Stephen Hawking talking

“I was here in October and I plugged my phone in when I went to bed and when I woke up in the morning it was completely dead. It would not boot, would not charge, would not do anything and I suddenly had the realisation my whole life had collapsed into this little device.”

Justin Rattner could not have begun our conversation more aptly. Intel’s chief technology officer has been at the Mountain View, California company for nearly 40 years. He has two Intel Achievement Awards, stands on its Research and Academic Advisory Councils and has been named one of the 200 individuals currently having the greatest impact on the US computer industry. He also has a passion project: heading up the team that works tirelessly to evolve the technology that keeps Stephen Hawking communicating with the outside world.

“It got started about 15 years ago,” says Rattner, an endearing man with a broad, almost child-like, smile. “Stephen and Intel’s co-founder Gordon Moore were at a conference together and Gordon saw the machine Stephen was using had an AMD processor and he said something to the effect of ‘How would you like a real computer?’ and Stephen said ‘Fine, that would be great’. Gordon asked the UK team to get engaged with Stephen and his support folks and provide him with a new Intel-based machine and it has just carried on. As the technology has improved they have continued to upgrade his system.”

Hawking has motor neurone disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons in the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their motor functions. He was diagnosed in 1963, shortly after his 21st birthday, and given just a few years to live. Fast-forward five decades and Rattner was in town because the renowned scientist was about to celebrate his 70th birthday and a symposium with friends, family, scholars and noted academics had been arranged by the University of Cambridge in his honour. As if to remind the world of his fragile condition Hawking ultimately missed the event due to ill health, but left arousing pre-recorded speech that looked back on his life, studies, illness and the importance of hope: “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet”.

This bout of illness will pass, but for Rattner the challenge of Hawking’s ALS will not. Continue reading

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Will Apple Become A Trillion Dollar Company?

August 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

At $623bn Apple is now the most valuable company is history. Is this the beginning of the end or just the start?

 

On Monday Apple became the most valuable publicly traded company in history. Stocks ended the day up 2.63 percent, roughly $665.15 a share, giving it a market capitalization of $623.52 billion (£393.61bn). With record financials and a new line-up of products on the way for Christmas the question must be asked: can anything stop Apple becoming the first trillion dollar company?

To fully grasp the current situation it is important to first put Apple’s valuation into context. The record Apple broke was that of Microsoft which was valued at $616.34 billion in 1999. Adjust for inflation and today that would be the equivalent to $850-900bn leaving Apple well short. Conduct a history lesson and the gap gets even bigger. In 1720 the South Sea Company hit a dizzying peak value of £3.675bn, equivalent to $73.8 trillion today.

6105  Will Apple Become A Trillion Dollar Company?

But whether Apple is really number one over the course of history is not the issue – what happened to both its rivals is. Microsoft is today valued at $257.71 billion, a huge reduction (particularly allowing for inflation), while the South Sea Bubble was named after the South Sea Company’s spectacular collapse by 1721. While they fell away for very different reasons (fraud was central to the latter) key to initial concerns was the feeling that both companies had peaked and could only go backwards. With Apple currently worth $200bn more than the world’s second most valuable company, ExxonMobil, similar misgivings would be understandable.

The Case For
And yet Apple makes a remarkable case, not only for being worth its huge price tag, but potentially far more. “It is actually not amazing that Apple is worth $623 billion,” argues Henry Blodget of Business Insider. He points out that stock is trading at 13x earnings, which is widely considered a sensible sum. Furthermore “Apple is delivering on earnings in all major product lines, including the iPhone, iPad and to a lesser extent the Macbook.”

This is potentially just the start… This is a sample, read the full editorial at TrustedReviews.

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Sony CMT-V758BTiP Dock

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews



Sony uses ‘Magnetic Fluid’ to create an ultra thin Apple dock & CD player. 

Review Price £299.00

Score 6/10

Pros

  • Slim design requires little desk space
  • Integrated CD player & DAB radio
  • Smart LED display

Cons

  • Clipped lows and highs
  • Monotone audio delivery
  • No AirPlay
  • Too expensive
Key Features: 40W 2.0 Speaker System; Slot loading CD player; Bluetooth with A2DP wireless streaming; Slim & lightweight.

 
While we’re not sure we’ll ever get over the irony of Sony manufacturing Apple docks, it cannot be denied the company has an eye for style and smart design. Interestingly with the ‘V75′ (or ‘CMT-V75BTiP’ to use its catchy full name) Sony has pushed the envelope even further and produced something genuinely eye opening: the world’s thinnest iPod dock.

Design: Actually this is a controversial statement. The Teac NS-X1 is technically the world’s thinnest measuring 55mm at its slimmest point, the trouble is two thirds of the dock is roughly double that measurement. Meanwhile the Sony V75 measures 58mm at its slimmest point and tapers more gracefully to approximately 100mm.

6104 Sony CMT V758BTiP Dock

Predictably Sony’s skinny offering also has the edge on build quality. It is constructed like a malnourished Bose SoundDock Portable with metal grid speaker and matt finish (available in red or black) while it also sports a pop-out Apple dock connector at the bottom. Happily booming iPad sales mean Sony has followed the growing trend for an open connector so iPhone, iPod and iPad will all fit, but the iPad doesn’t sit as securely and – given the dock’s small size – obstructs much of the audio output. Pop the V75 on a pair of scales and it weighs in at an expectedly light 2.9Kg. There is a separate power brick though and given it powers off the mains it isn’t quite as portable as you might think.

Features: A lack of inches thankfully hasn’t translated into a lack of features. Aside from the Apple dock connector, the V75 is kitted out with a slot loading CD player, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth for wireless streaming. This latter aspect ensures compatibility with almost any handset or MP3 player, but the absence of the highly impressive aptX codec is disappointing and more controversially AirPlay doesn’t make the final cut.

Before we grumble too much, however, it is worth pointing out that Sony has included something far too many docks omit… This is a sample, read the full review on TrustedReviews

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Dyson DC44 Animal

August 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews



A handheld that can also replace a full size machine? Clever.

Review Price £279.99

Our Score 8/10

Pros

  • A potential two-in-one hybrid device
  • Superb cleaning performance
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable & well balanced as a full size vacuum
Cons

 

  • Won’t replace vacuum in a large property
  • Much more expensive than a dedicated portable vacuum
  • Charge dock feels cheap
Key Features: 104,000rpm motor; Cylcone Technology; 20 minute battery life (eight minutes on max); Four bundled cleaning heads; Bagless design; Lifetime filter

 

‘Evolution not revolution’ is a phrase that has become all too familiar in recent years and it would seem to fit the ‘DC44′ perfectly. Both visually and numerically the handheld vacuum appears to be the logical successor to Dyson’s ‘DC35′, so we were rather surprised to hear the company thinks it will change the way we look at vacuuming forever. And it just might…

 

94 0000243e2 2cd9 orh616w616 PR JD 86A3 W RGB Medium Small  Dyson DC44 AnimalDesign
None of this comes through at first sight. Sit the DC44 before the DC35 and it is quite hard to tell the difference. Aside from a more matched colour scheme the DC44 looks identical to its forebear and has the same dimensions (205 x 115 x 322mm) and weight (1.33Kg).

 

Construction is also the same. It’s made from hardwearing, but primarily plastic materials with a gun-style trigger that’s pressed and released to start/stop operation. The removable battery sits horizontally underneath the trigger and there is a clear plastic bin for dirt which empties unceremoniously by flipping open at the bottom when the vertically mounted red release catch is pushed – careful you aim it the right way as it opens towards you!

 

Meanwhile the bulbous head of the DC44 hides Dyson’s patented ‘cyclone technology‘ which uses centrifugal forces to spin dirt around the sides of the bin as it is collected to avoid it clogging up the filters and reducing suction. Behind the cyclones is the motor (more of which below) and at the front is the nozzle where appropriate accessories can, with consummate ease, be snapped in to tackle different cleaning tasks. This is a sample, read the full review at TrustedReviews

 

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Copywriting – TomTom 2012 B2B Brochures

August 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Media & Copywriting

As in 2011 TomTom has allowed me to publish and promote my professional copyrighting. Typically this work is not published due to non-disclosure agreements.

The brief this year was to update all 11 of the company’s existing 2011 brochures with new product information, adjust the tone to be more direct and authoritative and modernise the layouts putting a greater emphasis on white space. Further customisation was also required for each industry sector and, given the complexity of the products and services at hand, it was crucial to make them concise and digestible. All targets were achieved in a maximum of 3 drafts per brochure and signed off 5 days ahead of schedule.

Below are links to download the brochures in PDF format and beneath them is a sample image in jpg format of ‘Maps & Enhanced Content’ – TomTom’s main B2B brochure which will enlarge when clicked. As with my feature writing, editorials and reviews, interested parties should contact me via any of the methods listed on my Contact page. You may also wish to view my LinkedIn profile which has extensive written recommendations and skill endorsements.

25 Jan 13 01 06 59 Copywriting   TomTom 2012 B2B Brochures

Click to enlarge

Lenco IPD-9000 Dock

August 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews



A virtual surround sound dock with CD playback sounds good on paper…

Pros

  • Impressive virtual surround sound
  • Smartly designed metal facia
  • CD player a nice differentiator

Cons

  • Weak midrange & low maximum volume
  • No wireless connectivity
  • Priced too close to superior rivals
Key Features: 2.1 channel output – 2x10W + 1x45W (RMS); CD, CD-R/RW and MP3 playback; FM radio with 20 presets; Auxility Input & Composite Video Output

 

In an age of ultra thin laptops and even skinner smartphones the notion of ‘more for less’ has become a motto of the modern gadget buyer. This is something embraced by Swiss audio specialist Lenco which has come up with a compact Apple dock which also claims to double up as a CD player, radio, video output and surround sound system for less than £230. Is this another case of more for less or false economy?
 

Design
Out the box our initial leanings move towards the former. Lenco is a brand looking to move away from its budget origins and the ‘IPD-9000′ is its biggest step to date with neat, minimalist styling that could have come via Denon’s design team. This look is centred on the attractive facia whose metallic finish is actually metal and the tasteful blue-lit LED display and lighting around the slot loading CD player and oversized volume knob.

94 0000242fc f1d0 orh616w616 1 Lenco IPD 9000 Dock

Frustratingly this look is not continued throughout with the rest of the IPD-9000 constructed from matt black plastic. This two tone approach creates a slightly jarring appearance from any angle but straight ahead, though construction is solid and it certainly catches the eye.

Features
The IPD-9000′s design may be minimalistic but its functionality is not. The aforementioned CD playback is an increasingly rare and therefore increasingly welcome differentiator. Meanwhile connections along the back include the usual power, auxiliary in and another fast disappearing feature: an FM aerial, but they are backed up by the more unusual site of a composite video output. This allows video playback on an attached iPhone or iPod touch to be outputted to a TV with the audio coming from the IPD-9000. This is a sample, read the full review at TrustedReviews.

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

 

Innovation Demands Apple Beat Samsung In Court

August 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

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Companies must be forced to find their own identity

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Technology has forgotten this phrase, but the notion that there can be different approaches to achieve a desired result (namely huge sales and profit margins) needs to be relearned. Here’s hoping a certain California courtroom will be host to the first lesson…

That’s right, I want Apple to win its eye watering $2.5bn (£1.5bn) copyright lawsuit with Samsung and I want it to win comprehensively. This is not because I am a fan of Apple, it is because I am a fan of innovation and creativity and the technology sector should be too. Minimalist, mono-coloured devices and walled garden software is not the only way and if it takes a courtroom to set a clear legal president that minutia cannot obscure blatant copying it will force companies to go down new routes. New, different, potentially groundbreaking, routes.
94 000024268 c670 1 Innovation Demands Apple Beat Samsung In Court
The arguments on each side are straightforward. Apple: “Samsung must play by the rules. It must invent its own stuff. Its flagrant copying and massive infringement must stop.” Samsung: “Apple’s overreaching claim for damages is a natural extension of its attempts to monopolise the marketplace.”

Of course the arguments are gross generalisations. Apple has done its fair share of flagrant copying over the years. Most famously it claims to have invented the mouse and graphical user interface, but both ideas were actually thought up by Xerox - Apple popularised them. Stones and glasshouses. That said I take bigger issue with the attitude expressed by Samsung that the damages claim is an “extension of its attempts to monopolise the marketplace” – as if Apple’s way will win if we aren’t allowed to copy a bit. It is a perspective that rots the tech industry. Sod Apple’s way, find your own and win with that!

If that scenario sounds intimidating – given Apple ‘has a way’ of doing things and seemingly most others do not – the alternative is downright terrifying. This is a sample, read the full editorial at TrustedReviews

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

D-Link Cloud Gigabit Router N600 (DIR-826L)

August 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

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The flagship router for the new mydlink Cloud platform has us scratching our heads.

By  (for TrustedReviews)
11 Aug 2012

Pros

  • Compact, small design
  • Fairly affordable pricing

Cons

  • Very disappointing wireless performance
  • mydlink is rudimentary at present

Our Score 6/10

Review Price £84.99

Key Features: 2.4GHz & 5GHz dual bands; mydlink compatible; Two antennas; Four Gigabit Ethernet Ports; IPv6 compliant
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Conversion to the Cloud is glorious, inevitable and inescapable. This is the line being touted by just about every technology hardware and software maker and it is what Linksys infamously declared with the launch of its Cisco Connect Cloud service moments before it was enforced upon all owners of the company’s latest routers to a cacophony of complaints. After the hullabaloo died down it turned out CCC is actually rather good and Linksys is just the first brand of router going down this path. The next is D-Link…

6102 D Link Cloud Gigabit Router N600 (DIR 826L)

Features
The ‘DIR-826L Cloud Gigabit N600′ is the router D-Link has chosen to headline its move into the Cloud, something it believes will demystify networking for the masses. It is a dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11b/g/n router (no 802.11ac) which D-Link claims is good for a combined theoretical bandwidth of up to 600Mbit. That said D-Link’s hugely impressive SmartBeam range and performance boosting technology (seen in the excellent DIR-645) is absent. It also has just two internal antennas for both bands whereas the DIR-645 had six for just a single band. Colour us confused.

Despite this IPv6 compatibility is in there (it is just about standard on most new routers), along with WPS and WPA/WPA2 security. The stock four Gigabit Ethernet ports and one USB port (the latter to connect a printer or storage directly to the network) make an appearance too, though we can’t help but wish manufacturers would’ve increased this to two or three by now. Looking to make up for this rather modest hardware, however, is the company’s debut ‘mydlink’ Cloud service which allows remote management of your router from any location as well as opening up access to media from mobile apps. More of which later. This is a sample, read the full review at TrustedReviews

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 


Convergence Now Means Picking a Side

August 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

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Today you don’t buy a device, you buy into an ecosystem.

Convergence is great, right? Your phone is your camera, your GPS, your games console; your TV is your web browser, your social hub, your on-demand media centre… and everything works together. It should be amazing, but that isn’t how it’s panning out. In reality convergence is exposing a sinister dark side: segregation by brand.

6101 Convergence Now Means Picking a Side

Today you don’t buy a device, you buy into an ecosystem. Take the iPhone, for example. The apps you buy you will have to buy them again if you jump ship to Google or Microsoft. But these apps will transfer to an iPad and it synchronises with an iPhone so you might as well make your tablet one of those. Then along comes Mac OS X 10.8 ‘Mountain Lion’ which integrates aspects of the iOS user interface, messaging functionality, back-up and more. Your computer should be a Mac then.

Do you want your Mac, iPhone and iPad content on your TV? Apple’s proprietary AirPlay wireless streaming is the way to go and that requires an AirPlay Express module or Apple TV. Might as well go the whole hog and buy an AirPlay music dock and AirPlay wireless printer too… all because you bought a phone, or any one of these devices.

Some might say that is Apple being Apple, but everyone is going the same way

This is a sample, read the full editorial at TrustedReviews.

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

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