Welcome to my blog - Read and enjoy

Thank you for visiting my Scooby1970 blogspot. I update whenever I can and when I have something interesting to share. You will also find published work of mine at Gaming Illustrated. Gaming Illustrated is where most of my work now takes place, but I will transfer some of my more popular articles from there over to this blog, in extended format.

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I've just started a new blog for my upcoming book releases: http://mark-adams-writes.blogspot.co.uk/

Also check out my 10 Quick Facts for more sites I run.

Enjoy the blogs, and relive my ups and downs in life, view some interesting reviews and just enjoy the site. If you are interested in learning something about some of my favourite music then click here it's the official Jan & Dean Site that has taken me and my friend from across the sea, June many years to keep updated.

:) Mark

Thursday, 24 May 2012

5 Best iPad News Apps

News. For some it brings up the fear of death and destruction in the World, for other it’s a catalogue of World information that they just can’t get enough of.  If like me you just can’t get enough of the news, then there are quite a few brilliant apps on the iPad Store that you can download and always be in touch with what’s going on in the World.

What makes a good news application? Firstly, and most importantly it has to be the content. A news app would be no good without the latest news, and the news that you actually want. It is in this respect that these five top news applications differ, as some have more specific areas of news than others. In that respect they all offer something different to the end user.

Secondly, they have to be easy to use. It should be second-nature for you to pick up your iPad, click on the chosen app and just read the news you want.  Surprisingly, some apps fail on this simple step, however these chosen should be quick and intuitive to use.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the top five News Applications that you should download onto your iPad. And they are all free!

News Republic
The News Republic Application is what all apps should be like on the iPad store. It looks smart, is quick and intuitive and is customisable so that you can get the news you want, when you want it. News Republic can be read both landscape and portrait, but landscape mode is by far the easiest and cleanest way of reading it. To the left of the screen is a list of all the top stories, and taking up most of the screen that’s left is the article.

News Republic gathers news from around the world from numerous sources, probably too many sources to mention. You can customise it by selecting such news groups as Technology, iPad, Movies, Internet, Sport, Business, Videos and so much more, plus of course there’s access to the main news headlines.

News Republic really is the most capable application for your news and views of the World. It’s got a fantastic interface and everything is one place. The one thing it is lacking at the moment is regional news, so as I am in Wales for example, it cannot show a specific section for my region. It’s not only a problem with News Republic though and affects other programs.

Overall, News Republic is a first-class application which is worthy of download.

Google Currents
Google Currents is a clever little program. Technically it takes feeds from various websites and displays them in a format similar to a newspaper. Set-up is fairly straight forward, you choose which feeds you want to add to the program, and then just let it do its thing. Feeds include The Guardian, The Independent, The Metro, 500x, Motley Fool, Games Radar and around 50 other titles from around the World. As you can see from the list, these include newspapers, gaming magazines, photography sites and a whole host of other content.

Google Currents starts on a home-screen where you choose which of your feeds you want to read. It then takes you to a newspaper-type contents page, displaying headlines with photos of leading articles plus a whole lot more. It sounds brilliant, and in practise it is pretty special. Overall the whole presentation and content is acceptable and will give more than enough news for a quick read on the go. Google Currents is very useful, and very informative, and you can view it in both landscape and portrait mode. This time however, portrait mode works best, as it takes the look and feel of a newspaper.

Sky News
The Sky News App is a flashy affair. It can only be used in landscape mode, but that means Sky can concentrate on bringing you an app that looks fantastic, is smooth and fast and brings you a great selection of news straight from Sky News.

Sky News content is taken directly from the news channel itself, and the focus is on streaming content. You can click on a news story, and it opens a new page with streaming video of the particular news article, plus support content such as a written article with more in-depth views, and sometimes Twitter feeds or extra photographs.

The Sky News application is your window to the World, and has the usual UK news, World news, sport and business, plus any special features that may be running at the time. It’s a lot more in-depth than most of the other news apps and you can spend some serious time watching the videos and reading each article.

Sky News brings all the content on this application, so you know the standard is going to be high, but you also know that it’s a lot more general in certain areas than more dedicated apps.

BBC News
Just like the Sky News App, the BBC News app is a great looking program. It feels more like the News Republic app to use, but is all very simple and user-friendly. The BBC has its vast resources to call upon to make the BBC News App another must-have application for your iPad.

You can choose your region in the BBC News app, so areas such as Wales, Scotland and Ireland are covered in a lot more detail than other news apps. Usually though, these are nothing more than brief summaries, but at least you get the option of having this local news.

Both text and video are used to great effect, and the BBC News app feels just like something from the BBC should feel. Well built, informative, easy to use an good on the eyes.

Guardian Eyewitness
Guardian Eyewitness is a little different. Each day it shares a picture or two from around the World of a specific event. These events can vary, and range from famous sporting events, to major catastrophes.

The aim of the Guardian Eyewitness application is to present you with an image which you can view for more than just a couple of seconds and study in great detail, provoking your mind to experience something new and different.

For the most part this app just works. It’s simple and really does get you viewing the photos in a way that you never thought you would view a photo. What’s more, each photo comes with a brief description, and also information on how to take a photo just like the one on show. It’ll give photographers tips on ISO levels, shutter speeds and a lot more. Guardian Eyewitness can be described as simply awesome.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Getting Your Downloaded Films Onto An iPad

Putting your Movies on your iPad
Many people believe that the Apple iPad can only play video formats that are associated with Apple. That means downloading Divx (.avi) files and other such similar formats will not play on your Apple iPad. However, with this brief article I will show you how simple it is to add your film download collection, regardless of format to your iPad. Within a few minutes you will be watching your latest film that you downloaded via a torrent client.
The first thing you need to do is download the film of course, and have a PC that has iTunes installed onto it so that you can easily transfer files from the PC across to your iPad. The second thing you need is a program on your iPad that will play .avi files. The program I recommend is “Flex Player” which is a free app available from the App store.

“Flex Player”
Flex Player is a great free piece of software that allows you to play .avi, DivX, Xvid, VOB, MP4, MOV and many more formats. It has a simple to use interface which shows a list of all the videos you have installed onto your iPad and you simply click on the video to watch the film.

In-Movie controls are pretty straight forward, with Play/Pause, Forward and Reverse. You can also drag the title marker to any specific point of time in the film. The whole package is only just over 8MB in size and from quite a lot of use it seems to be pretty stable.

Installing a film on your pad – The steps to follow
  • First of all, make sure you have iTunes installed on your PC and that your iPad is tied to that PC.
  • Connect your iPad to iTunes.
  • Click on the “Applications” section and scroll down to the bottom of the screen.
  • Find “FlexPlayer” and click the “Add” button.
  • Browse your PC Folders to where your movies are stored and simply add them.
  • Sync your iTunes with your iPad, unplug and click on the “FlexPlayer” application.

Enjoy the film
That’s all there is to it, it’s quick and simple and does not require you to try and convert your collection into an iPad specific format. To delete the movies simply load up Flex Player and click on edit, and then just click the little cross on the side of the films avatar to delete.

Load up your iPad and start enjoying movies!