The new Gameband (priced at £64.99 in the UK) offers you a truly portable Minecraft experience. All you need is Java 6 (or higher) running on your machine.
Visit gameband.com here.
After using it for a couple of days here are my initial experiences.
- The Gameband is beautifully engineered and designed. The band feels a good weight and is comfortable to wear.
- USB connector which is also used to secure the band feels very secure.
- LED display is bright and easy to see from a range of angles.
- There is no noticeable lag or delay running Minecraft from the band
- 8GB memory available on the band can come in very useful if you forget a memory stick
- Pixelfurance design software is very easy to use to produce animations for the band.
- The price point of £64.99 means I would definitely be reluctant to let my son take his to school.
If you have not yet seen my first look review of the Radian and Michron from Alpine Labs check it out here
Radian is a move-shoot-move device which essentially means it takes a photo by triggering the camera moves and then repeats the process. The device is programmed with an Android or iOS device and communicates via the headphone socket (which I think is really cool).
One of the features which I particularly like is the ability to ‘ramp-up’ or vary the speed at which the motor spins during the time-lapse sequence.
The basic interface is clean and intuitive setting the angle to move through, the time taken and the interval for photos to be taken. The device can still be used without a DSLR and other cameras such as a GoPro can be mounted onto it.
The advanced options give the flexibility of delaying the start of the sequence and giving a ‘ramping’ option to both the speed and the exposure.
The motion can be ramped either with a linear setting (top photo) or a curved setting (bottom photo). This gives the opportunity to the start the movement at one speed and slow down for another part of the time lapse.
The easy of programming combined with the simplicity of the upload from an audio jack makes the Radian very simple to configure prior to a time lapse sequence.
Many thanks to Alpine Labs for sending me a Radian and Michron to review
Alpine Labs have recently launched a great system for helping to take awesome photograps on a DSLR.
The Radian is an awesome little device which allows you to take beautiful motion time lapse photography with a DSLR, compact, mobile phone and GoPro. The Radian is programmed by a iPhone or Android phone and doesn’t require the phone to be left attached during the photoshoot.
The highly accurate motor can advance as little as 0.01 degrees between each photo. There is a wide range of control and programmable options available including the ability to line up a number of programs. Based on one battery charge the Radian can last up to 100 hours.
The Michron is a small compact device that can be used to program a DSLR to control a time lapse sequence. The device is programmed with an Android or iOS app via the headphone socket and doesn’t need the phone left connected whilst running. The Michron has a built in battery which should last in excess of 2000 hours. There is a good range of control options available.
Earlier this month I unboxed the Foscam Wireless IP camera model FI9826P and have been using it at home for a few weeks now.
The camera can be purchased for around £120 and is available from a wide range of suppliers. My initial setup went very well and within half an hour had the camera connected to my network.
Read more about my initial thoughts here.
One thought which has been very much in my mind since getting the camera was security. I was very pleased to see that early on in the setup procedure I was prompted to change the default password. You can then later add more accounts to the camera. BBC News article discussing security of IP cameras.
Accessing the camera
There are three main methods of viewing and controlling the camera.
- Direct connection over a local network via the IPCamera Client.
This method of access gives you the full range of configuration options for the camera in addition to live view and accessing recorded videos. There is a comprehensive range of settings and options available ranging from the basic setup to automated motion detection email messages. I was particularly impressed with the ability to set a specific area for the motion detection.
The setup and menu options of the iPCamera client feel very intuitive and relatively easy to setup. There are very good resources online to support setup and configuration of the camera. I found setting up the push email facility relatively straightforward after I googled the SMTP settings for Gmail. If you are new to mail settings this could have been a little daunting.
There are different levels of access available to user accounts.
Visitor - You can simply only view the current live feed and have no control over the camera.
Operator - You can now control the camera
Administrator - Full control
- Access anywhere from the myfoscam.com cloud service.
At the moment this is still in beta development and whilst works extremely well on a Windows device it doesn’t yet support OSX. I would definitely recommend the cloud service if you are looking at sharing the camera feed with other family members.
- Secure access via the Android and iOS app.
The images below are for the iOS Foscam app. There is also a new Android app available which I will produce a more detailed review of later and can be downloaded from here.
The iOS and Android app gives you full control over the camera. I found it to be relatively well responsive even over a 3G connection, however you can easily use a lot of data watching your kitchen! At the moment the apps don’t yet provide push notifications but I do believe that this will be addressed in a future update.
Connecting to the app for the first time can be confusing as you use the default login and then have to change the settings for your user name and password. Apart from the push notifications which are in development this is a simple and useful app.
Images from the Android app.
Overall thoughts and experiences
- If you have little or no experience of networks and network settings you may find the initial setup daunting although there is good support available online.
- The picture quality from the camera is very good with the sharp 1.3 Megapixel camera.
- The IR image is very sharp and the LEDs provide a good coverage.
- The two way audio is good quality and I do like the extra connectivity of the audio in and out sockets.
- The motor control is smooth and responsive and gives a wide coverage.
- There is a comprehensive set of tools from the Camera Client.
If you are looking to get into home security or want a more advanced baby or elderly person monitor this is a very good place to start. With companion apps, DDNS services embedded and cloud based website you are getting a lot of connectivity for a good price. Image quality is excellent and night time support is very effective with the IR camera mode. The optical 3 x zoom lens produces an excellent image.
Wireless IP cameras have been in the news recently so I was therefore very interested in trying out the F19826P Wireless IP camera from Foscam.
1.3 Megapixels HD camera
Pan / tilt / zoom control
3 x zoom lens
IR LEDs to provide night time surveillance
Motion detection alarm
Micro SD slot
DDNS Services embedded from Foscam
Built in Mic and Speaker and audio jack for external mic and speaker
First impressions out of the box is that is a neat little camera unit with a very compact design. The included mounting bracket and rawlplugs enable the camera to be mounted on wall. There is a very generous power cable with optional extension which should enable the camera to be mounted in most places indoors.
I was intrigued with the quick start 1 minute card. After following all the instructions and carrying out the initial setup with my Android Tablet I had a camera connected to my network. It took slightly longer than 1 minute but that was mostly due to me not reading the instructions fully! With an additional read of the online instruction manual and downloading an app for my mac to find the IP address of the camera I had set it up successfully.
I was very pleased with the insistence that the username and password was changed at the initial setup. This gave me a good sense of peace of mind knowing that you needed both the device number, the username and password to login.
Accessing the camera
You basically have 4 main options to connect to the camera and control it.
* local web interface with an additional range of configuration options.
* external web app through the myfoscam.com website
* Android app
* iOS app
Each of the methods listed above seem very reliable and I have had no connection issues. I did notice though that my obsession with looking at my camera feed whilst at work was rapidly eating up my data!
[More details to come]